Sorry, we don't do that here. You need to talk to our other Baltimore office," came the Coast Guard voice on the telephone.
"But isn't this the Coast Guard?" would come the bewildered reply. "Sure, but not the one you're looking for. Here's that number."
Conversations like this used to take place regularly because there used to be two distinct Coast Guards in Maryland.
One was responsible for search-and-rescue and maritime law enforcement on the Upper Chesapeake Bay. The other was charged with environmental protection, port operations and commercial vessel safety within the same geographic region.
Even though the two offices regularly coordinated on issues such as marine events, pollution response, and ice operations, a firm understanding and appreciation of each unit's responsibilities by the other did not exist.
Group Baltimore located at the Coast Guard Yard, performed shore operations, while Marine Safety Office (MSO) Baltimore operated out of a downtown office and handled marine safety issues.