Along the Mississippi River and the Ohio River Valley, the Coast Guard will deploy a modified version of the Rescue 21 system, to provide a more cost-effective and realistic solution tailored for the unique operating environment along these busy inland waterways. Due to the geographic and operational nature of the western rivers region, the modified system design will not include direction-finding or digital selective calling. The modified system comprises new remote radio control console systems and new VHF FM radios for the three sectors of the western rivers region.
Rescue 21 replaces the National Distress and Response System (NDRS), which has been in use since the 1970s. Rescue 21 Western Rivers will enable the Coast Guard to continuously monitor digital selective calling and more accurately identify the location of callers in distress.
The Coast Guard will implement Rescue 21 in the western rivers region in-house. For Sectors Upper and Lower Mississippi River, and Sector Ohio River Valley, the Coast Guard will use a modified version of Rescue 21 to recapitalize legacy NDRS equipment. The process of recapitalization will include 49 existing sites along these heartland waterways where the Coast Guard will replace legacy VHF radios and antennas, as well as adding a second VHF channel capability to allow two simultaneous calls.