WERE YOU ONE
IN A MILLION?
The United States Coast Guard has rescued well
over 1 million people since established as the
Revenue Cutter Service in 1790. To celebrate
its 40th anniversary in 2009, the Coast Guard
Foundation invited people to submit personal stories
and you can read a selection posted online at:
PHOTO: LT. DAVEY CONNOR, USCG
also confessed to a similar false mayday
he’d radioed in two months after the Why
Not call. In that case, he reported the F/V
Determined, a boat he had once worked
aboard, sinking 20 miles off Nantucket. It
took investigators and the courts two years,
but the double hoax earned him 18 months
in prison followed by three years supervised
release plus a bill for 11 hours of Coast
Guard search time at a cost of $82,000.
THE FINANCIAL TOLL
Hoax mayday calls like the Why Not and
Blind Date cases, and the roughly 150 more
suspected and confirmed incidents reported
during 2012, are costly. While the Coast Guard
knows to the penny the hourly price tag to fly
a Jayhawk helicopter or push a 45-foot motor
lifeboat across the water on an SAR mission,
hoax distress calls have costs less easy to calculate. In addition to the expense of diverting per-
sonnel from normal duties, when SAR crews
are occupied chasing down phantom maydays,
they’re not on call for real emergencies.
As Pete Martin puts it, “Responding to a
hoax mayday means the Coast Guard is not
only spending tax dollars unnecessarily and
putting personnel in harm’s way, we’re burning crew time that could be needed at any
given moment for genuine, life-threatening
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