A law enforcement team from Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL-750)consisting of Petty Officer 1st Class Jordan Baptiste, Petty Officer 1st Class Asher Thomas, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jean Latimer, Lt. j.g. Kenji Awamura and Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Scott, man the cutter's Over The Horizon (OTH) boat, Nov. 4, 2008, during law enforcement training. Team members train constantly to be proficient in their maritime law enforcement mission. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Henry G. Dunphy.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Night vision devices evaluation

The Coast Guard Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program on behalf of the Office of Boat Forces recently completed a research project on newer night vision technology. As a result of that project, CG-731 developed policy and training that allows qualified Coast Guard pursuit coxswains operating the Coast Guard’s over the horizon cutter boats to use night vision technology in the execution of their missions.


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.


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.


Crew members of Coast Guard Cutter Stratton put bales of heroin and cocaine onto a crane to be removed from the cutter's flight deck, Sept. 20, 2017, in San Diego. The Coast Guard and its interagency partners seized over 455,000 pounds of cocaine worth more than $6 billion wholesale in Fiscal Year 2017, breaking the U.S. record for most cocaine seized in a single year. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer DaVonte' Marrow.

Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Spotlight: Long-Range, Ultra-Long Endurance Unmanned Aircraft System

To augment interdiction efforts in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Pacific, the Coast Guard Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Program is investigating the feasibility, costs and benefits of using land-based long-range and ultra-long endurance unmanned aircraft systems to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in contraband transit zones.


Research, Development, Test & Evaluation Spotlight: Joint Maritime Test Facility

Mobile, Alabama, is known for bringing Mardi Gras to the United States, for the Battle of Mobile Bay during the Civil War, and as home to Hank Aaron and Satchel Paige. Few are aware of the important maritime research contributions a Mobile facility has delivered for nearly 50 years.


The crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Maple follows the crew of Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker Terry Fox, Aug. 12, 2017, during Maple’s 2017 Northwest Passage transit. As maritime traffic in the area increases, a Coast Guard Research and Development Center project seeks a reliable means of providing critical navigational safety information such as hazards, chart corrections and weather to Arctic mariners via digital means. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nate Littlejohn.

Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation: Arctic Navigational Safety Information System

Mariners face a multitude of hazards in the Arctic. The extensive seasonal melting of sea ice, reduction of multi-year ice and increase in first-year ice throughout the Arctic has generated an increase in maritime traffic. To help mitigate some of the risks associated with that increase, the Coast Guard has partnered with the Marine Exchange of Alaska (MXAK) to provide critical navigational safety information to Arctic mariners via digital means.


Crew members from Coast Guard Station Golden Gate brace themselves in their 47-foot motor life boat during heavy surf training off the coast of San Francisco. Surf Station Operations require a high level of head protection due to factors like the possibility of moderate impact force, extreme wave/surf heights and minimal warning time. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Barry Lane.

Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation: Boat crew helmets

Helmets are worn by boat crew members to provide head protection during hazardous conditions in various environments. The Coast Guard Research and Development Center has been evaluating personal protective helmets. The center’s extensive research will benefit 16,000 Coast Guard boat crew members throughout the active duty, reserve and auxiliary ranks.