Homeland Security

Homeland Security

by Conrad & Judy Kreuter

Q: Dear Boat Talk: Lately we have been hearing warnings from the government about additional terrorist attacks. How safe will the waters around our area be this summer? JG, Brightwaters NY.

A: Dear JG: Since the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, the Coast Guard has increased their personnel by recalling many of the Coast Guard reservists to active duty. Communication and coordination among other agenciefs as well as local law enforcement has been strengthened to protect the waters around Long Island. Among these agencies interfacing with the Coast Guard are the Coast Guard Auxiliary, New York Air National Guard, New York State Police, Nassau and Suffolk County Police, local police, and the Bay Area Maritime Search and Rescue Squads.

This summer you will see an enhanced presence of Coast Guard patrols on the water. You will also see them patrolling public marinas as well. According to Lt. Michael Griffin, Command Intelligence Specialist of Coast Guard Group Moriches, the Coast Guard will be checking boats in situations that look out of place. They will require proper identification of both boats and persons aboard. Individuals should have picture identification with them at all times. Boat registration must be current.

You can help the Coast Guard by making sure that everything on your boat is in order. This will keep them from wasting time that can be better spent on security issues. Make sure that you have enough fuel to complete your trip. Be self-sufficient!

Look for indicators that are out of place. Look for the unusual. Be aware of what is not normal. Be observant. Do not hesitate to call the Coast Guard for anything that just doesn’t look right.

In addition to reporting anything peculiar, boaters are also asked to take the following precautions:

  • Always secure and lock your boat
  • Always take your keys with you
  • When storing your boat, make sure it is secure and its engine is disabled. If it is on a trailer, then ensure the trailer is as im-moveable as possible.
  • Do not stop or anchor beneath bridges or channels-- another patriotic soul may think you’re planting a bomb
  • Observe and avoid all secure areas such as power plants and the southern tip of New York
  • Do not venture into commercial port operation areas, especially those that involve military, cruise line, fuel, petroleum, hazardous materials and other inventories that may be subject to terrorist attacks
  • Do not approach military, cruise line or commercial shipping. Keep your distance. There is a 100-yard security zone around military, cruise line and many commercial vessels.
    If you would like to get more involved in homeland security, volunteer with your local Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Remember, Coast Guard assets are conducting the largest port security operation since WWII in support of Maritime Homeland Security.