Bravo Zulu to San Francisco boardsailing

Published on October 1st, 2020

The San Francisco Boardsailing Association (SFBA) is organized to ensure windsurfers and kiteboarders have unrestricted access to San Francisco Bay while promoting and enhancing boardsailing safety and related education.

In such a hectic body of water, with strong winds and rapid currents, crisscrossed by maritime and recreational traffic, responsible boarding is smart business, and the SFBA has also developed a good relationship with the US Coast Guard to help secure their activity.

St. Francis Yacht Club and SFBA member John Gomes shares how their efforts were recently recognized by USCG Command Duty Officer Michael Zapawa of Sector San Francisco:


The American seagoing services used flags as a visual communications system, called “flaghoist signaling”, mostly as a means of communicating without compromising radio silence. The 2-flag signals were organized by general subject, starting with AA, AB, AC, … AZ, BA, BB, BC, … BZ, and so on.

The B- signals were called “Administrative” signals, and dealt with miscellaneous matters of administration and housekeeping. The last signal on the “Administrative” page was BZ, standing for “well done.”

It was a rare occasion for a subordinate naval ship’s Captain and Crew to receive such praise from a Battle Group Commander. Oftentimes, a BZ during a patrol would put a Commanding Officer career on the fast-track.

In the space of two days (24th & 25th of September 2020) the SFBA was instrumental to Coast Guard Sector San Francisco closing both cases and saving finite search and rescue resources. Most notable is SFBA earnest effort to build a culture among the boardsailing community that not only values the Coast Guard’s role in their sport but exponentially increases the safety of boardsailing enthusiasts.

All of us wearing the Coast Guard uniform, doing Search and Rescue for a living, are thankful when we can close a case instead of suspending our search. We would have been searching in the morning, at first light, if not for the SFBA’s hard work and valued partnership with the Coast Guard.

I prefaced this notification with the small history lesson because it is important to understand that a BZ, while informal, is a rare thing. On behalf of my co-workers in the Command Center, The aircrews in the Helicopter, and The Coxswain and crew of our small boats…A very well-earned BRAVO ZULU to the SFBA!

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