MIAMI – Rear Adm. Robert S. Branham, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District, Rear Adm. Gary T. Blore, assistant commandant for Coast Guard Acquisition, and Capt. Scott Buschman, commander of Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla., will formally accept and introduce a new Response Boat-Medium and Rescue 21 advanced communications system during a ceremony Monday at Sector Key West.
“We’re thrilled at the capabilities these assets bring to our efforts,” said Buschman. “Our men and women are excited to finally have the cutting edge in response boat and search-and-rescue communications.”
The RB-M is a new multimission asset that offers increased speed and maneuverability compared to the aging 41-foot utility boats, which it will eventually replace. Enhanced maritime capabilities and technological advances such as waterjet propulsion, armrest integrated steering and trim controls, self-righting capability and improved crew accommodations all represent significant upgrades over the legacy 41-foot utility boat. The first two RB-M’s were delivered to Coast Guard Stations Little Creek, Va., and Cape Disappointment, Wash., earlier this year.
Rescue 21 is an advanced command, control and communications system that provides cutting edge technology to mariners nationwide. As a marine version of 911, it facilitates better communications and interoperability in emergency situations. With its advanced direction finding capabilities and increased range, Rescue 21 helps the Coast Guard better ‘hear the call’ and quickly respond to boaters in distress, as well as to identify hoax distress calls made from land that can unnecessarily occupy Coast Guard assets, manpower and ultimately cost taxpayers money.
Currently being installed at Coast Guard sectors nationwide, Rescue 21 has already proven its worth.
Earlier this year, the service used its remote operations capability to seamlessly maintain coverage and communication along the New Orleans coast during Hurricane Gustav and through the aftermath. This acceptance formally brings those capabilities to Key West and increases total U.S. coastline currently covered by Rescue 21 to about 23,000 miles. Once the rollout is complete, Rescue 21 will provide communications coverage along 95,000 miles of U.S. coastline.
“We’re very pleased with these two projects,” said Blore. “This acceptance was made possible by the dedicated work of countless Coast Guard and industry personnel, as well as the unwavering support of our commandant and Congress.”