Enhanced Coast Guard vessel operations training coming to Charleston, S.C.

Southeastern Coast Guard News
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Coast Guard trainees at the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy here are scheduled to begin conducting a Non Compliant Vessel Pursuit course in the vicinity of the Wando and Cooper Rivers, Charleston Harbor, and offshore between Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms starting Monday.

This specialized program trains Coast Guard crews on methods to gain control of vessels that are engaged in illegal activities including drug smuggling and human trafficking.

Vessels engaged in illegal activities may often operate in an erratic manner in an effort to elude Coast Guard enforcement actions. The training simulates these behaviors and offers students a unique opportunity to test their skills in gaining compliance and decreasing criminal activity on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Previously held at Camp Lejeune, N.C., the course has been moved to the Charleston area in an effort to centralize law enforcement training at the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy.

“We are very excited about bringing this training to the Charleston area,” said Cmdr. Tom Walsh, commanding officer of the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy. “It builds upon our strong partnership with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and provides Coast Guardsmen with the professional, standardized training needed to conduct 21st century law enforcement missions.”

The course is scheduled to run periodically throughout the year and will typically be held Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and on select evenings until 11:30. The primary location will be offshore, but during inclement weather, the training will occur in the Wando River just north of the I-526 bridge.

Mariners who witness unusual vessel maneuvers near these areas are asked to keep clear of marked training vessels.

In an effort to keep the boating public informed, the Coast Guard will conduct Special Marine Information Broadcasts throughout the specified training days to inform mariners of areas to avoid.

“Coast Guardsmen throughout the country train every day so we can perform our best in challenging environments” said Lt. Cmdr. Marcus Gherardi, training officer at the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy. “The MLE Academy’s motto of ‘Safe, Legal, and Professional’ serves as the guiding principles of our instructors who produce confident graduates who are ready to perform. We create a strong future workforce, which ensures that we have the highly-skilled service men and women Americans can rely on and be proud of.”

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