Coast Guard raises its voice


DEC. 21-- The Coast Guard is testing a new high-powered acoustic hailing device that has been called a “bullhorn on steroids.”

The device uses acoustic energy to broadcast prerecorded messages through six speakers, giving Coast Guard crews a more audible way to communicate with boaters who have strayed into restricted areas, the agency says. The messages are broadcast at up to 134 decibels and can be heard up to a mile-and-a-half away.

“In addition to [a] cutter’s loud hailer or bullhorn system, the AHD will be another beneficial tool for our units conducting escorts of ships,” Lisa Tinker, of the Coast Guard’s 5th District enforcement branch, says in a statement. “Units will be able to better determine intent of a vessel approaching a security zone from a longer range.”

The devices were tested this fall at the Coast Guard station at Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia Beach, Va., the agency says.

Some of the prerecorded messages reportedly include, “You are approaching a restricted zone. Do not come any closer,” and “Turn around and leave this area immediately.”

The recordings can be used when boaters cross into security zones or get too close to Coast Guard vessels escorting tankers and/or cruise ships. If the equipment tests go well, the systems could be installed in Coast Guard vessels over the next few years, the agency says.

Jason Fell