Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 system helps rescue two teens

HOUSTON — By using the latest in search and rescue technology, the Coast Guard was able to quickly rescue two teenagers after their vessel began taking on water and sank about 30 miles from shore today.

The teens were in a 21-foot vessel south of Sabine Pass when their vessel started taking on water at 8:50 a.m. and eventually sank. A Coast Guard MH-65C helicopter crew was dispatched from Air Station Houston and quickly located the boaters. The young men were hoisted from the water and taken to the Lake Charles airport.

The Rescue 21 system aided in this rescue by providing searchers with a single line of bearing from where the mayday call originated, thereby greatly reducing the search area. Installed in the Houston – Galveston area in October 2008 and formally accepted in June 2009, Rescue 21 is the Coast Guard’s critical command, control and communications acquisition project, offering cutting edge technology to mariners nationwide. It is the backbone of the National Maritime Distress and Response System, a maritime version of 9-1-1 that allows the boating public, the Coast Guard and other response agencies to communicate more effectively during emergency situations in the marine environment.

“The direction finding capability on Rescue 21 was 100% pertinent to the rescue of these two men,” said Zack Edwards, the lead command center controller at Sector Houston-Galveston.

The advanced Rescue 21 system offers:

  • Direction-finding capability.
  • Reduction of coverage gaps along the coast.
  • Improved call clarity.
  • Enhanced playback capability.
  • Digital archiving of calls.
  • Increased and simultaneous channel monitoring capacity.

For more information about Rescue 21, please visit

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