A red handheld flare, the minimum pyrotechnic for which the project investigated alternatives. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Alternatives to pyrotechnic distress signals

Distress flares are vital to boating safety, but pyrotechnic flares can pose a safety hazard to people not trained in their use. In addition, expired flares can create environmental hazards through leaching chemicals when disposed of in landfills or at sea. As an alternative, the Coast Guard has been researching the suitability of light emitting diode (LED) devices as effective distress signals through its Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program.


Dave Lewald gives a presentation on the U.S. Coast Guard’s eATON response during the 2017 hurricane season during the 2018 IALA Conference in Incheon, Republic of Korea. U.S Coast Guard photo by Cmdr. Justin A. Kimura.

Coast Guard recognized for electronic aids to navigation hurricane response

The U.S. Coast Guard was recognized by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) for its use of electronic Aids to Navigation (eATON) during the 2017 hurricane season.

The members of the international technical association selected the U.S. Coast Guard for its best practices award during its quadrennial conference in the Republic of Korea’s third largest city.


Then Chief Petty Officer Trainor reenlists on “PA” Lighted Buoy in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, while stationed aboard Coast Guard Cutter Fir (WLM-212) in February 1986.

Coast Guard veteran dedicates 43 years to keeping mariners safe

Bob Trainor spent 43 years of his life serving with the U.S. Coast Guard, 31 years as an enlisted and later chief warrant officer, and 12 years as a civil servant working at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. For the majority of his years in the service, Trainor worked as a guiding light in the Aids to Navigation field making U.S. waterways safer, more efficient, and more resilient. Fair winds and following seas Mr. Trainor!


Hurricane Preparedness Week 2018: Make your safety plans in advance

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30. Take action now so you and your loved ones are prepared.


Scot Tripp and Lt. Cmdr. Shaun Vaccaro perform final checks on a Coast Guard-developed Hailing Acoustic Laser Light Tactical System onboard Coast Guard Cutter Flores, Feb. 14, 2018, in a Miami harbor. The CG-HALLTS system was designed by the Coast Guard Research and Development Center to effectively communicate and enforce maritime security zones with boaters. U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center photo.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Laser light communication system CG-HALLTS

Coast Guard Law Enforcement personnel need an unambiguous tool to better attract boaters’ attention and communicate with them. The Coast Guard Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program is currently testing a possible solution: a Hailing Acoustic Laser Light Tactical System appropriately called CG-HALLTS. Instead of launching a small boat or dispatching a helicopter to determine a boater’s intent, the Coast Guard may be able to de-escalate a high-alert scenario with CG-HALLTS.


Petty Officer 1st Class Jared Bohler, a marine science technician with Marine Safety Detachment American Samoa, checks lifejacket serviceability aboard the 190-foot U.S.-flagged tuna purse seiner Raffaello during a deficiency check, Oct. 23, 2017. The Raffaello suffered a fire more than two years ago and has been effecting repairs monitored by the MSD personnel. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Muir.

The Coast Guard, 14 degrees south of the equator

The crew of Marine Safety Detachment American Samoa consists of two officers, a first class petty officer, and a GS-12 civilian who conduct about 50 vessel exams consisting mostly of commercial fishing vessels and 25 to 30 investigations varying from pollution to marine causalities annually. While tours are short, around one year, on the island, the crews work to build strong relationships with the communities through boating and safety education as well as participating in community events.


Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Cockpit Laser Strike Protection

Laser strikes are a safety concern for both commercial and military aviation because direct eye strikes can result in temporary flash blindness or eye damage, depending on the strength of the laser. The Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center is working to find options that would provide the necessary eye protection for pilots while still allowing the level of visibility needed for operational awareness and to see the many indicators used during SAR missions – one of those options is a flexible optical filter. Find out more here!


Duck decoys like these help duck hunters attract waterfowl. The Coast Guard encourages all waterfowl hunters to prepare for the worst-case scenario when headed out on the water. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nate Littlejohn.

Humbled hunter recalls mistakes in the marsh

A duck hunter learns a lesson in preparedness after his boat gets caught in low tides in the marshes on a cold December day without a reliable means of communication or hunting partner.


Members of the Coast Guard Academy, Leadership Development Center, and Officer Candidate School hosted a memorial service in honor of the 11 crewmembers who gave their lives aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Cuyahoga when it sank after colliding with the Argentine coal freighter, Santa Cruz II at the mouth of the Potomac River in 1978, at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., Oct. 20, 2017. Speaking at the event is Dr. Peter Eident, a survivor of the sinking of the Cuyahoga in 1978. U.S. Coast Guard photos by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin

Learning from history

From 1968-1980, the U.S. Coast Guard was involved in three major mishaps that had devastating impacts on those who survived. These mishaps also served as the impetus for the Prospective Commanding Officer/Executive Officer Course and the Bridge Resource Management Course, which trains members going back to sea in various leadership roles. Learning from our history in regards to the Coast Guard Cutters Blackthorn, Cuyahoga and White Alder is why the Coast Guard Leadership Development Center runs these courses: to prevent loss of life at sea.


Innovation Program seeks hurricane lessons learned from Coast Guard responders

The Hurricane Lessons Learned challenge on the Coast Guard’s crowdsourcing platform, CG_Ideas@Work, was started as a way to preserve and institutionalize the wealth of lessons learned during hurricane response efforts. All Coast Guard personnel who participated in any of the response efforts are encouraged to share their observations, issues and ideas.


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