The Coast Guard formally accepted and introduced its new Rescue 21 advanced communications system at a ceremony aboard Coast Guard Sector Charleston Monday, June 14.
This new capability increases the Coast Guard’s ability to execute all its missions, especially its search and rescue mission, with greater agility and efficiency.
“Rescue 21’s direction-finding capabilities provide lines of bearing to the source of the transmission and enable watchstanders to more accurately direct response assets to the distressed mariner,” said Michael Tangora, Coast Guard Deputy Assistant Commandant for Acquisition. Tangora cited two recent search-and-rescue missions which were successful because of Rescue 21’s advanced capabilities.
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, and provides communications coverage out to a minimum of 20 nautical miles off the coastal zone. 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. The systems also helps identify hoax distress calls that can unnecessarily divert Coast Guard assets and manpower.
The ceremony Monday formally brings these capabilities to Coast Guard Sector Charleston and increases the total U.S. coastline currently covered by Rescue 21 to more than 35,000 miles. Over a typical week, Sector Charleston personnel conduct 10 search and rescue cases and save six lives and $270,000 in property. Rescue 21 makes the success of these cases much more likely.
“Rescue 21’s acceptance in Sector Charleston marks a tremendous leap forward in our ability to save lives at sea and increase the safety of mariners along the busy South Carolina coast,” said Gene Lockhart, Coast Guard Rescue 21 Project Manager.
Coast Guard Sector Charleston was formed in 2005 and covers 240 nautical miles of coastline. From April 2009 to April 2010, Sector Charleston was responsible for helping save 334 lives and recovering $14.1m in property; regulating and securing over $92b in international trade, including 12 percent of the nation’s container imports; and supporting the global war on terrorism by protecting the shipment of U.S. Department of Defense cargo and fuel through the Port of Charleston.