itCG-Hudson River boardings, vessel fires, fish barrier

  • The Coast Guard is stepping up its boardings of boats heading south on the Hudson River. The random stops are part of the Department of Homeland Security’s “small vessel security strategy” aimed at increasing inspections of small vessels that travel from Canada to New York City harbor.
    Story here
  • Late last night, Coast Guard Sector Boston received a single distress call and no follow-on responses. An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast (UMIB) was sent over the radio and vessels in the area immediately responded to help. A Good Samaritan, the fishing vessel Karen Lynn I, reported seeing a vessel on fire and was able to recover the uninjured crewmen from a liferaft. Coast Guard Station Point Allerton, the MassPort Fire Department and Good Samaritans worked to control the fire.
    Story here
  • Two boats caught fire, burned and ultimately sank at a Yacht Club in Mobile, Alabama. Before the boats sank, the fires caused damage to the docks and other boats. The Coast Guard and the local teams are monitoring fuel pollution from the sunken vessels.
    Story here
  • Sure, the temporarily closed canal near Romeoville, Illinois, may be frustrating to some area boaters but the end-result could be frustrating to many more all across the Great Lakes. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard are working together to inhibit the threat of invasive fish using electric fish barriers while also keeping boaters safe. The voltage increase on the barriers in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal requires safety testing to ensure there is no threat of electrocution and explosions. To follow the joint effort, updates are provided here.
    Story here

2 comments on “itCG-Hudson River boardings, vessel fires, fish barrier”

  1. The goal of the fish barrier is admirable, but evokes three questions from me. These are:
    1. Are the barriers equipped with some form of uninterruptible power system so that a loss of utility power will not negate them? I assume so, but would like to know.
    2. There clearly is a range of voltage gradient capability in the system. Was any safety testing done over that range to evaluate safety prior to the institution of the prototype barriers, or after the installation of the prototype barrier and prior to the completion of the second phase?
    3. While the falling overboard into the water hazard is easy to understand, the steel hull but not fiberglass hull stance was perplexing. I assume the fear was that widely spaced through-hull fitting would develop a potential difference sufficient to create a spark hazard. However, depending on the distance between opposing potential electrodes, this may or may not have been possible, especially considering the high resistivity of the river freshwater. This potential hazard would be rather easily mocked up and tested. Was this done in advance?

  2. Ken,
    The electric fish barrier must prevent invasive species from migrating into Lake Michigan; it must also minimize the very real risk it poses to the lives and health of those many recreational and commercial waterways users who regularly pass near and over it. The CG and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continue to work together to address the remaining safety concerns surrounding the fish barrier project. As the only barrier of its kind on a navigable waterway, it requires extensive safety testing. The Coast Guard will enforce a safety zone in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal from mile marker 296.0 to mile marker 296.7 until it is determined vessels can safely transit the waterway at the optimum barrier operating parameters.

    The USACE is the lead agency for designing, constructing and testing this one-of-a-kind barrier system. The Coast Guard’s waterway management decisions are based on the Army Corps actions to operate and test the barrier, because they have the lead for barrier operation and testing. We are working closely with the USACE to address these safety concerns.

    For technical information about the barrier, please visit the USACE’s website at http://

    LT Dave French, External Affairs Officer
    Ninth Coast Guard District

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