Rescue 21, the Coast Guard’s critical life-saving communications system, is being installed in a new Coast Guard Sector approximately every five weeks and is currently guarding over 15,745 miles of U.S. coastline. The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 system is proving invaluable at locating and communicating with mariners in distress. Dozens of people now owe their lives to this lifesaving system. The latest Search & Rescue (SAR) cases involving Rescue 21 occurred on May 13 in the Coast Guard’s Thirteenth District.
At 8:56 a.m., the Coast Guard was contacted on Rescue 21’s VHF channel 16 and responded to assist a 22-ft. pleasure craft taking on water 28 miles west of La Push, Wash. A Coast Guard HH-65 helicopter crew lowered a dewatering pump to control flooding until a Coast Guard 47-ft. motor lifeboat could tow the vessel to shore. None of the four occupants reported injuries.
At 9:47 a.m., the master of another pleasure craft contacted Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles, Wash. on Rescue 21 circuits, to report his vessel was taking on water. The Rescue 21 system calculated “lines of bearing,” enabling the Coast Guard to vector “Good Samaritans” to the pleasure craft’s last known location. Minutes later, two charter fishing vessels reported they had pulled three men, in life jackets, from the water. While two individuals were saved, one did not survive.
At 10:10 a.m., the Rescue 21 system located a 26-ft. pleasure craft that had contacted the Coast Guard to report his main engine had failed and the vessel was being powered by a backup engine. A 47-ft. motor lifeboat crew from Coast Guard Station Quillayute River, Wash. was diverted to tow the vessel to La Push.
As these incidents demonstrate, Rescue 21’s command, control and communications system makes it possible, now more than ever, for Coast Guard watchstanders to not only “hear the call” of distressed mariners but assist with their immediate position information – speeding resources to where they are needed.
Today Rescue 21 is standing watch, answering the call of duty, across 12 Coast Guard Sectors:
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Group/Air Station Port Angeles, Wash.
Delaware Bay, Del.
Long Island Sound, N.Y.
Hampton Roads, Va.
Group/Air Station Astoria, Ore.
Rescue 21 will continue to build out and expand capabilities over the next several years with the ultimate goal of covering 95,000 miles of coastline and inland waterways throughout the continental United States, Hawaii and Alaska. More information about Rescue 21 can be found at www.uscg.mil/rescue21.