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September 22nd, 2011

Marine Safety Warning on Radio Distress Alerts

The US Coast Guard has issued a marine safety alert, warning vessel owners that many DSC radio distress alerts lack appropriate location and identity information.

The Coast Guard’s new marine radio network is now operational across the country.  Rescue 21 will allow rescue centers to receive immediate distress alerts from DSC capable VHF marine radios.  However according to the Coast Guard, about 90% of the distress alerts that they’re receiving from these VHF marine radios, lack important location information.  Moreover, more than 60% of the distress alerts from these VHF marine radios do not contain identity information.  Without a registered identity and location information, the Coast Guard is not able to effectively respond to the distressed vessel.

In the absence of such information, the Coast Guard may find it difficult to launch an effective and successful rescue effort. These efforts may need to be suspended if the Coast Guard vessel does not receive any communication from the distressed vessel.  Additionally, the Coast Guard will possibly have to suspend rescue efforts in the absence of any other means of contacting the vessel.

The Coast Guard is alerting vessel owners to the necessity of configuring their radios properly, in order to maximize safety benefits. You need to obtain a Maritime Mobile Installation Identity and feed this into your radio.  Your radio must be interconnected to a GPS receiver.  You can find more information about how to configure your radio correctly here .

The maritime law lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers represent maritime workers injured in accidents across the country.

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