Canadian Steamer Princess Sophia. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Avoiding tragedy 100 years after Princess Sophia sinking

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Canadian passenger steamer Princess Sophia. Princess Sophia had run aground in southeast Alaska and was unable to deploy its lifeboats, taking down with it at least 353 people. Today the Coast Guard conducts modern cruish ship exams placing emphasis on crew proficiency during emergencies to avoid another tragedy like the Princess Sophia.


Members of Electronic Support Detachment Guam repair a generator at the Mt. Alutom radio site on Guam following Typhoon Mangkhut, Sept. 15, 2018. The generator is a back up power system for the Rescue 21 radio site. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Communication and connectivity following Mangkhut: A Rescue 21 story

Category 5 Typhoon Mangkhut recently impacted the islands of Guam and Rota, a commonwealth of the U.S. It plunged 80 percent of Guam into darkness and all of Rota, flooded areas and destroyed aids to navigation and damaged the Rescue 21 VHF and microwave radio sites in Guam and Rota. The U.S. Coast Guard sent supplies and crews to Rota to provide aid to the community and repair and restore power to the radio sites that are used to listen for distress calls throughout the Mariana Islands. Read here to learn more about the Rescue 21 system and how this 21st century technology assists these small Pacific islands.


U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Abbie Burgess sails past the Owl’s Head Lighthouse near Rockland, Maine. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Auxiliarist Bob Trapani.

U.S. Coast Guard ATON personnel honor lighthouse keepers

Crew members from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Abbie Burgess (WLM-553) and Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) Southwest Harbor, Maine, placed flowers and national ensigns at the gravesites of Abbie Burgess and Isaac Grant, two renowned lighthouse keepers, during a visit to Thomaston, Maine, in August. Burgess was best known for keeping the Matinicus Light shining and later the Whitehead Lighthouse with her husband Grant.


The RDT&E Program has even advanced into working in space-based technologies with the DHS/Coast Guard Polar Scout Program. Two small satellites or “cubesats” capable of detecting transmissions from emergency position indicating radio beacons will be deployed this fall to evaluate their ability to detect and geolocate distress transmission in an Arctic environment and provide signal information to a special network of ground stations.

Coast Guard RDT&E Program celebrates 50 years

During its 50 years of existence, the RDT&E Program has completed research that has been vital to the successful advancement of Coast Guard missions including search and rescue, aids to navigation, spill response, and port and cybersecurity as well as supporting the acquisition of new assets such as the national security cutter, offshore patrol cutter and unmanned aircraft system capability.


The Coast Guard responds to search and rescue requests in response to Hurricane Harvey in the Beaumont, Texas, area, Aug. 30, 2017. The Coast Guard is working closely with all federal, state and local emergency operations centers and has established incident command posts to manage search and rescue operations. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Giles)

Coast Guard holds hurricane preparedness seminar in Opa-Locka

Florida-based Coast Guard units held the first of multiple training sessions in which people were educated on setting up and executing hurricane preparedness and evacuation plans. Coast Guard members and their dependents listened to high-ranking, experienced service members, including the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, Jason Vanderhaden about what can be done to prepare for a hurricane.


Gold Fever: A Driving Force in Nome

Before gold dredging pioneers can seek out their lucky cache of treasures on the Bering Sea floor, gold dredgers much have a safety inspection done on their vessels. A team of Coast Guard members annually visits the small town of Nome, Alaska, to provide inspections to maintain vessel safety and answer questions. This summer, the team inspected almost 20 gold dredgers in one week early this summer and went back for more in July. The Coast Guard also works with partners from the Department of Natural Resources to ensure safety of the dredgers and fishermen alike.


A U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew lands at a softball field at a Coast Guard housing facility in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Sept. 22, 2017. The housing facility was used for Coast Guard personnel to shelter in place for Hurricane Maria and some operations were based there as damages were repaired to the Coast Guard base Sector San Juan, which is adjacent to San Juan harbor in Puerto Rico. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Zach Zubricki.

Surviving Hurricane Maria

The U.S. Coast Guard members who work at Sector San Juan had already been hit with Hurricane Irma but just two weeks later, they had to relocate and hunker down 10 miles away at Bayamon while Hurricane Maria wrought even more destruction to the island of Puerto Rico. Weeks later, those same member worked tirelessly to rebuild and become operational again.


U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 1st Class Seth Johnson

Hoax calls affect us all

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.


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.


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