The Coast Guard recognized a member of the maritime community at Coast Guard Station Channel Islands in Oxnard, Tuesday.

Capt. Rebecca Ore, the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander, presented a Meritorious Public Service award to Captain Paul Amaral, owner and operator of Channel Watch Marine Inc., for his dedicated service to the maritime community throughout the coastal waters of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

In 2019, Captain Amaral responded to 389 disabled vessels, 49 potential marine pollution cases and voluntarily responded to 15 distress cases, always putting safety and the environment first by responding regardless of whether or not he was likely to receive any compensation for his efforts.

On Sept. 2, 2019, Amaral played a critical role in response to the motor vessel Conception fire near Santa Cruz Island, which tragically took the lives of 33 passengers and one crew member. Amaral towed the burning vessel from shoal water to deeper water so that the fire boats could get close enough to control the fire. His quick actions resulted in a significant increase to the safety and effectiveness of the recovery and salvage operations.

“I am honored to recognize Mr. Amaral for everything he has done and continues to do for our maritime community,” said Ore. “He is an outstanding partner to the Coast Guard and goes above and beyond to ensure the safety of the boating public. His actions in response to the Conception tragedy are a true representation of selfless heroism and courage.”

The Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service award is the second highest civilian award of its kind, and is used to recognize substantial contributions to Coast Guard missions and to public safety.