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Rescue 21 System Accepted at Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston

June 4, 2009

Rescue 21 accepted in CG Sector Houston-Galveston
Senior government and industry representatives attend Sector Houston-Galveston's Rescue 21 Acceptance Ceremony including (L-R): Mike Tangora (USCG Acquisition Directorate Deputy Asst. Comdt.), Lee Wright (General Dynamics C4 Systems National Communications & Homeland Security Senior Dir), Capt. Sean Mahoney (Airsta Houston CO), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Capt. Marcus Woodring (Sector Houston-Galveston CO), OSC Donald Pinto (Sector Houston-Galveston, Operations Unit Controller), Cdr. Lamar Johnson (Sector Houston-Galveston Command Center Chief)

Rescue 21 is an advanced command, control and communications system that provides new and improved technology to mariners nationwide. It is the backbone of the National Maritime Distress and Response System. As the marine version of 9-1-1, it facilitates better communication and interoperability in emergency situations. With its advanced direction finding capabilities and increased signal reception, Rescue 21 helps the Coast Guard ‘hear the call’ and quickly respond to boaters in distress, as well as identify hoax distress calls made from land that can unnecessarily occupy Coast Guard assets and manpower.

Capt. Marcus Woodring, Sector Houston-Galveston’s commanding officer, pointed out that calls from a VHF radio received by the Rescue 21 system - unlike “maydays” sent from cell phones – can be heard by everyone on the waterways, as well as allowing the Rescue 21 system to lock in on the position of the transmission, thus enhancing the effectiveness of Coast Guard response efforts.  Just within the past month, Good Samaritans in Houston hearing VHF channel 16 alerts have provided help on 17 out of 20 of the Sector’s calls for assistance.

Rescue 21 accepted in CG Sector Houston-Galveston
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee discusses the importance of boaters having a VHF radio during the Rescue 21 demonstration by CDR Lamar Johnson, Sector Houston-Galveston Command Center Chief.

Sector Houston-Galveston’s Command Center Chief Cdr. Lamar Johnson added, “Our mayday call volume has increased since the installation of Rescue 21.  The reason for this is simply because of Rescue 21's increased sensitivity and expanded coverage area.”  

Rescue 21 has already proven its worth at Coast Guard Sectors across the nation.  Acceptance by the Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston brings Rescue 21capabilities to an additional 857 nautical miles of Texas coastline, with a total of over 28,000 miles U.S. coastline covered to date.

“What a great day for the Coast Guard and the people of South Texas,” exclaimed Michael Tangora, deputy assistant commandant for acquisition. “Now operational in Sector Houston-Galveston, the Coast Guard has an advanced, multi-channel digital communications system that can help locate a mariner in distress by providing lines of bearing to the source of the transmission, enabling Coast Guard watchstanders to more accurately direct response assets to the distressed mariner.”

For more information: Rescue 21 project page

Last Modified 11/20/2014