Coast Guard implements new non-lethal signaling, warning device in Southeastern New England

1st Coast Guard District NewsBOSTON — The Coast Guard is implementing the use of a non-lethal signaling and warning device to support the service’s ports waterways and coastal security mission along Southeastern New England.

The LA51 signal and warning device is fired from a 12-gauge military shotgun to produce a visible and audible signal at a range of 100 meters. Training will be conducted in a designated firing range offshore and it will be used in approved locations throughout Cape Cod, The Islands and Rhode Island.

The LA51 signal and warning device is considered a safer alternative to the current warning devices used by Coast Guard personnel. It is a shorter range round, and the flash and noise produced by the device are more prominent than a splash in the water caused by the M16 tracer round. Additionally, the Department of Defense’s joint non-lethal weapons program has determined through their testing that the LA51 has a low risk of significant injury.

“The new LA51 warning device is designed to warn boaters in a safe and effective manner if they do not respond to calls on the marine radio from the Coast Guard or comply with our instructions in case of a security violation,” said Capt. Verne Gifford, commander of Coast Guard Southeastern New England. “Our crews have recieved extensive training on using the device safely and properly as one of several options for responding to potential maritime threats.”

The Coast Guard has been using the LA51 as a warning signal during alien migrant interdiction operations and counter-drug operations. The LA51 warning device will now be used during security zone enforcement and the execution of the ports waterways and coastal security mission.

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