Coast Guard brings enhanced search-and-rescue technology online in Southern California

San Diego – The U.S. Coast Guard plans to formally accept and introduce its new Rescue 21 advanced communications system at Sector San Diego April 28.

This new capability, which is being 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 by helping to pinpoint where marine radio calls are coming from.

“Rescue 21 is designed to work seamlessly with all current marine VHF radios. Also, mariners with digital selective calling transceivers are encouraged to connect them with their GPS systems so the Coast Guard will be able to more accurately respond to their location during an emergency,” said Lt. Cmdr. Dean Jordan, the Joint Harbor Operations Center supervisor.

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. The acceptance formally brings those capabilities to Sector San Diego and increases total U.S. coastline currently covered by Rescue 21.

“This system has already proven it’s capability at other Coast Guard Sectors across the country saving lives, catching hoax callers, and improving communications with mariners. We look forward to having this technology here in Southern California,” said Chief Petty Officer Thomas Winter, a senior search-and-rescue controller at Sector San Diego. “It will also cover the popular Mexican fishing spots immediately south of the border, further increasing our range of coverage and the ability to help a mariner in distress if they are within range of one of our receiving towers. If mariners intend to travel farther away, then it is strongly encouraged that the prudent mariner carry a properly registered 406MHz EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon).”

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