There was a formal change of command ceremony yesterday at U.S. Coast Guard Station Menemsha.

Under crisp blue skies, with a gentle breeze accompanying the clear view of the Elizabeth Islands and Vineyard Sound, chief boatswain’s mate Jason Olsen was installed as the new chief of the station. Now officer in charge here, Mr. Olsen’s last assignment was in North Carolina, where he was executive petty officer at the station Fort Macon.

Senior chief Stephen L. Barr, who served for four years at Menemsha station, now moves off to California, where he will be the district wide boat manager for district 11, Alameda, Calif.

As officer in charge at Station Menemsha from May 2006 through May 2010, Mr. Barr oversaw 612 law enforcement boardings; 85 lives were saved; and $45 million dollars in property was protected.

Witnessing the change of command ceremony atop the hill overlooking Menemsha were commanders, captains, chiefs, members of the Menemsha community, Chilmark selectmen, law enforcement officials (including members of the Massachusetts State Police force), the harbormaster, former men who served at Station Menemsha, the fire chief, community members from across the Vineyard, auxiliary members, and especially family and friends of those two men taking and relinquishing their posts here.

Overseeing the installation was Capt. Raymond J. Perry, commanding officer of Sector Southeastern New England, based in Woods Hole.

He praised the 200-year history of the United States Lifesaving Service and the Revenue Cutter Service, and the force that was created in 1915 when they merged, the United States Coast Guard.

Capt. Perry noted that the U.S. Coast Guard, with more people and resources today, performs more safely, quickly and effectively than ever.

He talked about the boats presently in use, making particular note of the new, faster 45-foot life boat that soon will be in service.

He also praised Chief Barr specifically. Chief Barr, he said, was instrumental in promoting and accepting the new 21 Radio System, which saved three lives within six months of use at a local level.

More broadly, Capt. Perry reflected on the senior management in the field today, and how crucial they are in addressing the present oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Coast guard Admiral Allen was retained as manager in making decisions and is working together with BP Oil, Chief Perry said, giving the cleanup effort what he called the best emergency management organization in the world, with clear doctrine and management structure.

In Menemsha it was Chief Barr who responded to the August 1, 2008 tugboat fire aboard the Deluge, removing the crew just minutes before the disaster.

It was Chief Barr who ordered the people aboard Deluge, which was on fire in Cape Cod Canal, to get the people off right away. He realized they must contain the oil spill and ultimately protect the environment. He performed these duties while three other groups in the area were forming, and through constant radio contact with their stations. His professionalism was “awesome,” Capt. Perry said.

Station Menemsha received the Sumner I. Kimball award for its response to the tugboat fire.

Capt. Perry reflected on Chief Barr’s command at Station Menemsha, noting that the station chief had cherished his time on Martha’s Vineyard and become a true member of the community. On the Vineyard, Chief Barr was always professional, known for his candor, his passion for the job and the crew and the community. He acknowledged and respected the great tradition and history of the fishing fleet and the large fleet of recreational vessels during the summer months. He was known for his way of building teams.

During his four years at Station Menemsha, Chief Barr was responsible for overseeing a self-sustaining unit in constructing a full galley, saving $250,000 in construction costs.

He also was responsible for researching, consulting and ultimately obtaining the new radio tower on Peaked Hill in Chilmark that is used in search and rescue efforts.

Finally Chief Barr took the podium and thanked Commander Rooney, Commander Brady, Captain Perry, and the “good people of Martha’s Vineyard.”

He would not have changed a single thing during his command, he said.

During his command, his “amazing” crew members came from Hawaii, Texas, California, the Carolinas, and many other distant states. He recognized their sacrifices and their perseverance. They were ready to answer every call, he said, and they did so admirably.

The Menemsha crew was the security and comfort for those at sea, with their voice while in contact with those at sea, and with more than voices when assistance was needed. He called the crew humanitarians who met their challenges as a team.

They have an allegiance to each other, he said, and he was very proud of their accomplishments, among them: in 2006, the newly constructed galley; in 2007, earning the Sumner I. Kimball Award; in 2009, the installation of Rescue 21. Apart from that, Chief Barr said, Station Menemsha had “the best looking 47 in the country!”

Chief Barr, who is originally from New Gloucester, Maine, thanked the Vineyard community, his crew, law enforcement officials, town officials and regional agencies for the wonderful hospitality shown to him, his wife, Andrea, and their son, Isaac, saying it will never be forgotten.

His parting words for his “great crew, great station, and great place” were these: One, Take good care of the crew. Build a team, listen to the wind. Two, take good care of the crew families; they are just as important. Three, do not go it alone. Make good friends with local fishermen and mariners, the community, and other agencies. Own your area of responsibility. Work as a team. Have fun. There is a lot of work due to the missions and the character of the people.

Chief Barr received a gold star.

The incoming chief, Jason L. Olsen, has spent the past two weeks at Station Menemsha. He and his wife, Andrea, and their children, Josh and Emma, look forward to their time on the Vineyard and thanked Chief Barr for his hard work and dedication to make this an easy transition.

Chief Olsen said he was honored to serve and will work with the crew and the community.

Chief Barr also was honored by those in the community; a reception was held on the lawn of Station Menemsha.