OPA-LOCKA, Fla. (WFLA) —There’s been a surge in migration toward Florida’s coast.

The U.S. Coast Guard has been working around the clock monitoring and patrolling by air and sea looking for Cubans and Haitians making the treacherous journey to the U.S. in hopes of freedom.

Reporter Brittany Muller flew with the Coast Guard out of Air Station Miami to get a firsthand look at the agency’s humanitarian effort. The USCG has focused their mission on saving lives. The migrants are willingly risking everything for a better life.

For Lt. Karlo Vasquez and Lt. Billy Bartin, lending aid to migrants is more than a mission. They begin their day at Air Station Miami by CHECKING THEIR HC 144A.

“It’s been a tremendously humbling experience I mean having impact on each flight having the search and rescue cases coming out here,” said Lt. Martin.

More Cubans and Haitians are taking the risk by crossing on these makeshift boats or rickety rafts, often crowded and with women and children.

“Those rafts may be 10 to 15 maybe 20 foot rafts we saw the highest of 21-25,” said Lt. Martin. “It’s a heartbreaking thing to see them willing to just risk everything for a better lifestyle.”

The Coast Guard said it has intercepted more than 10,000 Cuban and Haitian migrants since last October.

“It’s been very eye-opening,” said Lt. Vazquez. “They’re trying to find a better lifestyle.”

Safety is the primary mission.

“Either their engine caught on fire they can’t keep going,” said Lt. Vazquez. “They’re just waiting for help for food.”

A Coast Guard crew rescued three men from their sunken vessel last month. Crews have also seen others stranded on islands waving for help.

Once crews open the hatch, they can deliver the necessary and dire equipment to the migrants, including survival kits, rafts and flares.

“The whole goal there is to prevent them from continuing on, but these winds and seas can get really choppy so transiting these hundreds of miles across open ocean, in something that’s built with Styrofoam,” said Lt. Martin. “It’s just mind-boggling.”

Once crews in the air spot migrants and drop off equipment, a Coast Guard cutter is sent by sea. Then the migrants are picked up and returned to their native country.

“There’s a lot of words used to describe all those people that are coming across, but we’re all humans and a life is a life and it’s just so important to understand and seeing it day-to-day,” said Lt. Martin.

The last thing they want is to lose a life at sea.

“I mean safety I know a lot of them have kids and my main concern is I want to make sure they’re also alive to be able to go home to their children,” said Lt. Vazquez.

While we did not see any migrants crossings during our five-hour flight, the men and women of the Coast Guard continue to fly every day to help those trying to find a better life.