Eighth U.S. Coast Guard District Launches Citizen’s Action Network With GNOEC

NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard announced today that the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission (GNOEC) has become the first business member of Citizen’s Action Network (CAN) in the Eighth Coast Guard District. CAN is program that uses volunteer citizens, non-profit organizations and businesses to provide real-time information to the Coast Guard. Members of CAN need only a view of a waterway from their home or workplace and a telephone to be the local eyes and ears of the Coast Guard. No additional equipment is required and there is no cost to join the network.

With more than one hundred employees on or near Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River, the GNOEC will be an important partner in the early success of this vital Coast Guard mission. All members will receive training in how to observe and determine the kinds of events that are reportable such as oil spills, aids to navigation, emergency flare sightings and boaters in distress.

When a volunteer joins Citizen’s Action Network his contact information goes into special mapping software which shows up as an icon when needed by the Coast Guard watchstander. All CAN members who live or work in the area closest to a reported incident can be called and asked for a report on what they see from their locations. If a member sees nothing, search area is narrowed.

Additionally, a member could support the Coast Guard’s Aids to Navigation mission by visually knowing the bearing from their location to an aid before a storm. Afterwards, off-station aids are easily determined and reported.

Members are never required to use their boats, patrol an area or put themselves in harm’s way. Their familiarity with the surrounding area provides expertise in recognizing dangerous or suspicious activity.

Citizen’s Action Network began in Washington State’s Puget Sound where it is an important security component for the Port of Seattle and saves the Coast Guard precious time when investigating incidents where lives and property are at stake in the recreational boating community.

The program is being rolled out across the Gulf Coast and those individuals and organizations with a view of any navigable waterway, a phone and a willingness to participate in the program are invited to call the Eighth Coast Guard District at 800-524-8835 or email cgcanmember@gmail.com for a simple application form. Citizen’s Action Network is administered by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the civilian volunteer component of the Coast Guard, which also offers general boating education to CAN members.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, the uniformed civilian, volunteer component of Team Coast Guard assists the active duty Coast Guard in all of its varied missions, except for military and direct law enforcement. These men and women can be found on the nation’s waterways, in the air, in classrooms and on the dock, performing Maritime Domain Awareness patrols, safety patrols, vessel safety checks and public education.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary was founded in 1939 by an Act of Congress as the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and re-designated the Auxiliary in 1941. Its over 28,000 members contribute millions of hours annually in support of Coast Guard missions.

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