Hoax calls happen all too frequently and not only impact the responders and community, but also waste time, money and resources at the taxpayers’ expense. Hoax calls are a Class D felony and incur substantial prison time and fines.
The U.S. Coast Guard is the lead agency for maritime search and rescue (SAR) in U.S. waters. But that mission is compromised every time the service receives a hoax distress call. Making a false distress call is a violation of federal law (14 U.S. Code § 88) and may result in up to six years in prison, a $250,000 criminal fine, a $5,000 civil fine, and reimbursing the U.S. Coast Guard for the cost of performing the search.
The Research Development Test and Evaluation team recently completed the Search and Rescue Hoax Location Systems and Methods project, “evaluate and demonstrate different technologies that would assist the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) and other partners with locating, identifying and prosecuting hoax callers within the Coast Guard domain.”
Temporary Denial of Service 911 hoax calls plague our nation’s first responder agencies. Similarly, there is a growing hoax call problem on the Channel 16 maritime distress frequency, which mariners rely on for radio communications in our nation’s ports and waterways. Search and rescue (SAR) hoax calls disrupt and divert the Coast Guard’s operational response to legitimate mariners in emergency situations. The Coast Guard has partnered with an academic research team to tackle the SAR hoax call phenomenon.
Say the word hoax out loud. It sounds similar to the noise you might make if something was stuck in your throat. Just like something stuck in your throat, hoaxes are obstructions to the life-saving work that the Coast Guard does. Hoaxes waste vital search and rescue resources and unnecessarily put the men and women who selflessly serve as first responders at risk.
Last week the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld a restitution payment of nearly $500,000 as part of the sentence handed down in United States of America v. Danik Shiv Kumar for making a false distress call that caused a massive search on Lake Erie in March 2012.
A Coast Guard helicopter from Air Station Clearwater medically evacuated a woman whose jet ski collided with an anchored small boat. She was safely transported to the hospital but her current condition is unknown. Story here The four fishermen who were rescued from Lake Erie yesterday after a long night and day clinging to the