Guest blog by Vincent Pica
Chief of Staff, First District, Southern Region (D1SR)
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
|U.S. Coast Guard photo/PA3 Barbara L. Patton|
Buried deep within the US Coast Guard 2011 authorization bill (Section 618 (the emergency beacon provision), H.R. 3619) is a short paragraph enabling the US Coast Guard to require emergency locator beacons, if it believes they are warranted and to decide how to do it, on pleasure boats when they go offshore. What is “offshore?” The section essentially defines “offshore” by authorizing the US Coast Guard to require the beacons on pleasure boats when they venture three nautical miles (nm) or more from the U.S. coastline or from the shores of the Great Lakes.
Advocates say that the measure could save lives while also saving millions each year in search costs. Why? Because, when the perfectly calm skies that you left under turn into a snarly, life-stealing beast, sometimes, all your skill isn’t going to get you home. And sometimes the boat itself is what betrays you as she threatens to slip away beneath you. You are going to be hard to find – unless you are sending a signal to the satellite who will call the USCG for you.
This column is about that...