"MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Please! Somebody help!"
For over 200 years the U.S. Coast Guard has
responded to distress calls at sea. But lately, more and more of
those calls are found to be false -- hoaxes sent by people looking for
kicks. In 1990, the first year the U.S. Coast Guard began keeping
statistics on rescue hoaxes, Coast Guard units responded to 205
hoaxes. This number has increased steadily every year. The U.S. Coast Guard, along with the Federal
Communications Commission and other agencies, is very concerned about
the increasing number of search and rescue hoaxes.
Hoaxes hurt everyone:
The taxpayer by wasting hundreds
of thousands of dollars annually; and
Those really in distress
at sea by diverting resources away from legitimate search and rescue cases.
Are there penalties for issuing a false distress
*How much does the U.S. Coast Guard spend on its
search and rescue cases? Plenty:
Each hour a U.S. Coast Guard
aircraft is aloft costs about $12,742 - and several may be used in a
Our medium size ships, referred
to as cutters, cost roughly $5,547 an hour to run.
Even a U.S. Coast Guard small
boat costs $1,855 per hour to operate.
Is there a way you, as a law-abiding taxpayer, can
help? Yes. If you hear a hoax call, or you
have information which might lead to the perpetrator of a hoax, call the
U.S. Coast Guard unit or contact the
Federal Communications Commission.
* From an article "Search
and Rescue is no Joke"
U.S. Coast Guard
Search And Rescue, 28 Sep 2004, U.S.