Real stupid

Sometimes there are people who are so self centered and stupid that when they are caught they deserve to be punished. Stripping them of all their assets would be a start.

Washington State has a lot places for boaters. There is a huge commercial fleet of fishing boats and the recreational boaters. As yet there is no way for the coast guard to pinpoint the exact location of an emergency call. There is also a large fleet of vessel assist boats spread out throughout the Puget Sound waters. Rather than spend the money for the vessel location system the coast guard opted post 9/11 to spend the money elsewhere. Canada bought an off the shelf system so that boats and ships calling May Day can be located.

There is a electronic add on for the marine radios and that’s what the coast guard has been pushing. Whatever. The demand for an emergency call location system gained steam from a case on the east coast. A sailboat was out for a day sail and got lost. At some point someone one the boat issued a May Day call. This call was missed or if it was heard the host’s contrition was critical and there was no follow up. Two boys and the father of one of the boys died. This is the case that educated me about the politics of the Coast Guard and the primitive and antique radio system still in use by the Number One country in the world.

Now back to the West Coast and a civilian idiot who has made at least three false May Day calls. Imagine if while the Coast Guard was responding to the fake calls a real emergency occurred. Without knowing for absolute certainty which call is real and with limited resources lives are at risk. Unsupervised children are frequently heard on the standard emergency frequency. Generally it isn’t hard to figure out the child prankster and the child relaying her father’s instruction as he tries to get a wayward sail under control in Cattle Pass in the San Juan Islands.

The stats on prank calls are very disturbing.

The same suspected hoax caller on June 2 reported seeing a dead body on the shore, but the Coast Guard did not dispatch a search team to respond, Mosley said. Seeking to identify the hoax caller, the Coast Guard on Wednesday released recordings of his three bogus transmissions.

Nationally, the U.S. Coast Guard says it dealt with 19 confirmed hoax calls in 2012, the most recent year statistics were available. The same year, the Coast Guard received 156 suspected hoax reports.

If found, the Washington state hoax caller could be charged with making a fake distress call, which carries a term of up to 10 years in prison, Mosley said. He also could be forced to compensate the agency for the two search operations, which cost over $200,000 including maintenance on the helicopters and vessels used, he said.

It is about time that the Coast Guard be separated from Homeland InSecurity and return to their original mission. The Coast Guard needs to followed Canada’s example and buy an off the shelf system, making modifications where needed, and help keep boaters safer. If along the way the hoax callers are caught – then bravo! Find and fine the Bastard. Putting the boating public at risk is stupid.

Additional links
http://www.americanboating.org/device_ends_search.asp
A GPS device that can be trigger in case of on board emergency or if someone falls overboard. The devices are expensive. There have been no hoax calls associated with the devices described in the article.

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