Coast Guard accepts new Rescue 21 communications system in Northern California

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. – The U.S. Coast Guard formally accepted and introduced its new Rescue 21 advanced communications system at Group Humboldt Bay this morning.

This new capability, which will eventually be introduced nationwide, increases the ability of Coast Guard men and women to execute all of their missions, especially their search and rescue mission, with greater agility and efficiency. Today’s ceremony included speeches from senior, local, and national Coast Guard officials.

“By delivering readiness to our people, we enable them to deliver enhanced service to our customers. The people of Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino counties and all other mariners that use these waters,” said Capt. Christopher Martino, commanding officer of Coast Guard Group Humboldt Bay. “The Rescue 21 system does just that. It delivers readiness to our people and it delivers enhanced service to the mariners of the Northern California Coast.”

Rescue 21 is an advanced command, control and communications system that was created to better locate mariners in distress and save lives and property at sea and on navigable rivers. As the marine version of 9-1-1, it facilitates better communication 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 divert Coast Guard assets and manpower. Today’s acceptance formally brings those capabilities to Group Humboldt Bay and increases total U.S. coastline currently covered by Rescue 21 to more than 34,000 miles.

“It is important for the Lost Coast mariners to know that Rescue 21 works seamlessly with their current marine VHF radios. Commercial and recreational boaters do not need to update any of their current gear to experience the benefits of the new system. That being said, all mariners with digital selective calling capable transceivers are encouraged to connect those units with their GPS systems so that the Coast Guard will be able to digitally receive position data from them in the event of an emergency,” said Ens. Andrew Jarolimek, communications center supervisor for Group Humboldt Bay.

A letter from California Senator Barbara Boxer sums up the capabilities of the new system: “By enabling more effective communication between the U.S. Coast Guard and local, state and national emergency responders, Rescue 21 improves the ability of the U.S. Coast Guard to protect property and lives at sea.”

Find out more about the Rescue 21 project at


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