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Research, Development, Test and Evaluation: Project Spotlight
August 2011

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Rescue in Electrified Water

At any given time, the Coast Guard RDT&E program is working on more than 80 projects that support the Coast Guard’s short, medium and long range requirements across all major missions.

Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
To the untrained navigator the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal appears similar to other canal systems throughout the US; but this canal has electrified water, making search and rescue operations more difficult.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed an electric fish barrier across the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to prevent the dispersal of aquatic nuisance species and counter the invasive species threat from the Asian carp. With the introduction of the fish barrier, the Coast Guard was challenged to improve its ability to safely conduct rescue missions specifically related to a person in electrified water.

The Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC) conducted a series of literature reviews and in-depth field tests that provided for a thorough investigation of:

The results of these tests will be reported to the Coast Guard's 9th District commander, Office of Boat Forces and Office of Search and Rescue. The report will also include recommendations for operational guidance and a training program. Plans for fiscal year 2012 are to examine the risks to commercial and recreational mariners that transit in the vicinity of the barrier.

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Last Modified 2/26/2016