Please select your home edition
Edition
Selden

U.S. Coast Guard reauthorization includes look at improving 911 system for boaters

by Scott Croft 2 Jan 08:34 PST
(L to R) Capt. Jeff Dziedzic, TowBoatUS Mystic, Connecticut; Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.); and Capt. Keith Turgeon, TowBoatUS Mystic. © Tow BoatUS Mystic

A sign of the times, the U.S. Coast Guard reports that it's common for recreational boaters today to use cellphones to call during a boating emergency. While Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) urges every vessel to have a working VHF radio with DSC (digital selective calling), the nation's recreational boating advocacy, services and safety group also recognizes that cellphones are firmly embedded in boaters' lives. But what happens when a boater tries to call 911 for emergency or routine on water assistance? Will the call go to the closest, most relevant rescue agency for a swift response?

Unfortunately that's not always the case. But a provision in the recently passed Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization of Act of 2018 aims to improve reliability of the 911 system when recreational boaters need emergency help. In an effort to ensure timely dispatch of the closest potential rescue asset or on-water assistance provider, the Act requires the U.S. Coast Guard to review its policies and procedures to "formulate a national maritime Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) policy." There are more than 6,000 PSAPs in the U.S. local 24/7 call centers with trained dispatchers that receive 911 emergency telephone calls and route them to the proper emergency service.

"This effort will help minimize the possibility of maritime calls being improperly routed and to assure the U.S. Coast Guard is able to effectively carry out its maritime search-and-rescue mission," said Tina Cardone, executive director of the Conference of Professional Operators for Response Towing (C-PORT). C-PORT members, made up of on-water towing industry companies from across the country, contributed to the legislative effort. This included TowBoatUS Mystic owner Capt. Jeff Dziedzic.

"This was a grass-roots effort by many and took years of working with U.S. Coast Guard and elected officials," said Capt. Dziedzic. "We care about this because of our occasional role in responding to life-threating events as good Samaritans, as well as answering calls for more routine requests for assistance."

In a video recently captured from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Capt. Dziedzic's local congressman, thanked the captain for bringing the issue to his attention.

BoatUS also thanks the leadership of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.) and Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.).

Additional TowBoatUS C-PORT members joining the effort included Capt. Chad Noetzel, TowBoatUS Port Huron, Michigan; Capt. Terry Hill, TowBoatUS Potomac, Virginia, Capt. Richard Paul, TowBoatUS Cape Coral, Florida; and Capt. Chris Shaffner, TowBoatUS Palm Beach, Florida.

Related Articles

Rep. Derek Kilmer to speak at BoatUS Town Hall
Recreational boating topics will be on the agenda Boat Owners Association of The United States, together with the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) and the National Association of Marine Manufacturers (NMMA) are co-hosting a recreational boater's town hall event featuring special guest Rep. Posted on 3 Aug
Chris Edmonston elected chairman of SFBPC
The council advises the U.S. Secretary of the Interior on fishing and boating Edmonston and the council will work on items such as improving access to recreational activities on America's waters, conserving fisheries and waterways, combating invasive species, and a wide array of other topics that impact boating and fishing. Posted on 19 Jul
Florida Governor signs Recreational Boat Title Act
What it means to boaters both inside and outside the Sunshine State Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' recent signing of a recreational boat title bill, the Uniform Certificate of Title Act (HB 475/S 676), offers recreational boat owners valuable consumer protections and may spur other states to follow suit. Posted on 3 Jul
Want to learn how to boat?
Learn the basics of powerboating or brush up on your skills The nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water together with Freedom Boat Club San Diego offer a choice of two fun on-water boat training courses taught aboard single-engine powerboats Posted on 26 Jun
Who else wants to attract transient boaters?
Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) funds available in the US The Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program, which funnels federal fuel taxes paid by recreational boaters back to the states to attract visiting boaters with amenities such as secure overnight dockage, has $24.7 million in funds available Posted on 21 Jun
Boaters beware: Expect more E15 this summer
A bad fuel is lurking Over the objections of a wide coalition of American citizens and environmental, conservation, food producer, fuel retailer, taxpayer advocate, and outdoor recreation industry groups, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Posted on 18 Jun
Capt. "Jimmer" takes helm at five Ohio locations
Service provides on-water assistance in the heart of a Great Lakes recreational boating mecca Recently named the Best Coastal Small Town by USA Today, Sandusky's waterfront has long been popular with recreational boaters. With the increased density of boats come more unexpected boat breakdowns that require a tow back to the marina or launch ramp. Posted on 15 Jun
Pat Dieselman honored with Women's Sailing Award
More than 100 women gathered to learn, network and celebrate The honor recognizes an individual with a record of achievement in inspiring, educating, and enriching the lives of women through sailing. The award was presented by NWSA President Debbie Huntsman. Posted on 12 Jun
Central New York Boater Assistance Service
24-Hour on-Water Towing Service for Boaters in Rochester and Oneida Lake has new owners Long-time Central New Yorkers Capt. Grant Langheinrich and his wife Karla Langheinrich are the new owners of two 24-hour on-water towing ports, TowBoatUS Rochester and TowBoatUS Oneida Lake. Posted on 25 May
BoatUS releases annual list of Top 10 Boat Names
The tradition dates back a quarter century Each year, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) tallies the most popular boat names. The tradition dates back a quarter century, with the list derived from adding up requests for boat name designs from BoatUS Boat Graphics. Posted on 24 May
Zhik 2018 Yacht 728x90 BOTTOMRS Sailing 2019 - FooterMelges 14 2019 Footer