Coasties pull security for annual pony swim


Crew members from Coast Guard Station Chincoteague enforced a safety zone July 29 as ponies make the annual swim from Assateague Island, Va., to Chincoteague Island, Va., during the 90th Pony Swim on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. (Coast Guard photo by PA2 Nate Littlejohn)

Assateague Island, Virginia, is known for its population of wild horses, which every year are rounded up and brought across the channel to Chincoteague Island, where some are auctioned off to keep the numbers under control.

A 24-foot boat crew keeps a perimeter July 29 as ponies swim from Assateague to Chingoteague Island on Virginia’s eastern shore. (Coast Guard photo by PA2 Nathan Littlejohn)

But in order to get there, they have to swim, so the Chincoteague Wild Pony Swim enlists the help of the Coast Guard to keep the horses safe.

Several 24-foot Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water boat crews from Station Chincoteague maintained a safety perimeter from other boats and people as they swam the channel, with thousands of spectators looking on Wednesday.

Ponies take to the water July 29 at the 90th annual Chincoteague Pony Swim on Virginia’s eastern shore. (Coast Guard photo by PA2 Nathan Littlejohn)

The tradition dates back to 1925, when several fires on Chincoteague prompted the local department to auction off a few horses to buy more equipment.

They’ll spend Thursday at the auction on Chincoteague, then swim back home to Assateague on Friday. Click here for more on the tradition.


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