A Gloucester, Mass., man pled guilty March 22 for violating New Hampshire’s “False Public Alarm” law for knowingly communicating false distress messages.
According to the Coast Guard, fisherman Everett A. Sawyer made numerous false mayday calls on his VHF radio from 9 to 10 p.m. Oct. 13, 2003, one of which reported that a person had fallen overboard.
The calls were responded to by a rescue boat from Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor in Portsmouth, N.H., and a New Hampshire Marine Patrol boat, which searched the area for more than two hours. No distressed vessel or person was ever located as a result of the searches, nor was any evidence of a maritime casualty ever found.
The Portsmouth District Court fined Sawyer $1,700. The maximum fine for the offense is $2,000.
The First Coast Guard District reports it has responded to more than 160 hoax call cases since 2001.