Coast Guard master chief Robert Riemer, who heads station Menemsha, is a busy man at this time of year.

With Memorial Day comes the unofficial start of boating season in Vineyard waters, and his crew of 25 men and women must be ready to react to any emergency on the water as well as enforce order on the high seas.

But that’s just the baseline for Chief Riemer. When asked about the busy weekend, he reels off a series of community events that he and his crew are involved in. Parades, marches, ceremonies, where the Coast Guard joins the rest of the Island in coming together on the solemn observance to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

“For me it’s a good way to honor Memorial Day, and honor the folks that have given up so much for this country,” he said. “It’s a way to make it just not be a long weekend. There’s a reason for it. We have Memorial Day not so we can barbecue. We have Memorial Day to remember and honor and give respect to those that have fallen in service to this country.”

Chief Riemer is completing 27 years in the Coast Guard and completing his four-year tour here on Martha’s Vineyard. He will hand over his command next month and move on to his next assignment as the officer in charge of the Coast Guard Cutter Hawk, stationed in Virginia Beach.

It was the service side of the Coast Guard that drew him into this career, as well as familiarity with the service where his father served.

“I got out of high school, I was kind of an average student, middle of my class,” he said. “College prospects weren’t great. It was an opportunity to get out and do something. When I looked at the five branches of the military, it was a more humanitarian service. I was attracted to that.”

Next month Chief Riemer will leave for his next assignment in Virginia Beach.

He has thrived ever since, moving steadily up the ranks to reach the highest rank afforded enlisted officers. He achieved the rank of master chief while serving in Menemsha and calls it the culmination of his career. Only 85 people in the entire Coast Guard currently hold the rank.

“You’re evaluated on your performance, and your performance is dependent on how well your crew does,” he said. “This crew has done very well. Because they’ve done well, I’ve been able to move up. There’s a lot of personal studying I have to do. There is a competitive examination that is a big component of that. It takes a full career to get to this point.”

On a recent afternoon, he stood on the dock between the new Coast Guard boathouse and the three vessels in his command. He reflected on the milestones achieved on his watch, deflecting much of the credit to his unit.

“The boathouse, that was a big project,” he said. “That was rebuilt and recommissioned in 2015 during my tour. All of these facilities down here have been rebuilt and installed during my tour. That’s a big deal.”

He is also proud of improvements in training, especially certification for the officers to operate the two 47-foot motor lifeboats in extreme weather.

“The Coast Guard has certain standards for their heavy weather program,” he said. “Right now there are nine of us that can run the boat in good weather. There are three of us that are trained to operate the boats in bad weather, anything more than 10-foot seas, more than 30 knots of wind. Three of us have completed the training and certification process to do that. We have two more that are up and coming but they’re still in their training process. That takes about two or three years to get that done.”

But for all the accomplishments that extend outward on the water, he returns again and again to accomplishments inward, in the Island community.

“This unit has been one of the most connected to the community that I’ve served at,” Chief Riemer said. “Just by nature of the fact that it’s an Island. We’re the only branch of the military on the Island. We do some law enforcement, but we also do a lot of search and rescue. There’s a lot of that stuff that tugs at people’s heart strings. Because of that, I think it’s made the connection a little bit stronger.”

While he has clearly had an impact on the Island, the Island has clearly had an impact on him. His wife, a registered nurse, has worked at the Vineyard Nursing Association. His oldest daughter graduated from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and is now a student at Boston College. His youngest daughter is finishing the seventh grade at the Oak Bluffs School.

He said it will be difficult to pick up and move again, as his Coast Guard career has required so many times before.

“If I could stay I would,” he said. “We’ve loved it here. The Vineyard community has been very good to us. This crew, this team of men and women who work here has been pretty exceptional. I’ve enjoyed very much watching them become successful. Cherish every moment you have on this place. It is a very, very special place.”