U.S. COAST GUARD
Members of the crew of Coast Guard Station Michigan City, Ind., stand aboard the station’s new 45-foot Response Boat-Medium on Lake Michigan Nov. 9. With it are the station’s 25-foot Response Boat-Small and 47-foot Motor Life Boat. The
more capable Response Boat-Medium replaced the Motor Life Boat, which was taken out of service.
from a conference room window on the 17th floor of
the district’s Cleveland headquarters, he said, “We are
very happy to have the cutter, because we need it, but
at the same time we are getting excited to have a new
asset that’s over 30 years old.”
Getting even one new piece of equipment or techno-
logical capability can have a huge impact on a district
that, on average, issues 1,910 marine safety violations,
boards and inspects more than 2,000 vessels and con-
ducts up to 5,000 search-and-rescue missions per year.
One example is Rescue 21, the service’s advanced
maritime command, control and direction-finding communications system. The Coast Guard started rolling
out Rescue 21 in 2005 as a means to more accurately
identify the location of callers in distress, thereby significantly reducing search time, as well as improve information sharing and coordination with DHS and other
federal, state and local first responders.
The system did not become fully operational across
the Great Lakes, which is home to 4. 6 million recreational boaters, until summer 2012.
“This new asset allows the crew to get on scene
faster, safely operate in heavier weather, access shallower water and remain on scene longer — all things
that contribute to their ability to respond and assist
mariners in distress,” Capt. Steve Wischmann, commander of Sector Buffalo, N. Y., said during an Aug. 22,
2012, ceremony to accept the system in Buffalo.
Prior to Rescue 21 being fully integrated, district
officials said they either had poor or no coverage in
parts of Lakes Superior and Huron, as well as the St.
“We have a tremendous amount of coverage that
was gapped before,” said Capt. Thomas Routhier,
Coast Guard Base Cleveland commanding officer.
According to Jerome Popiel, the Ninth District’s
incident management adviser, the district oversees
four sectors with offices in Buffalo, Detroit, Milwaukee
and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
“Together, we supervise the activities of 47 multi-mission stations, 10 cutters, two air stations, two [sea-sonal] air facilities, four marine safety units, two
marine safety detachments and a variety of other
units,” Popiel said.
The governance of the region is a jurisdictional
mosaic, made up of concurrent federal and eight state
jurisdictions — as well as abutting two Canadian
provinces along a 1,500-mile international border
that separates the sovereign waters of the United
States and Canada — making good communications
Other infrastructure needs also are being addressed.
In 2012, the district broke ground with Canadian
partners on a new Marine Security and Operations
Center in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, along with
piloting a project with Transportation Canada under
the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Council to
conduct joint port state control exams on foreign-flagged vessels in the St. Lawrence Seaway.
The district also completed a Leadership in Energy
& Environmental Design Silver-certified 25,000-
square-foot operations and administration building in
Cleveland and began construction of a 9,000-square-
foot boat maintenance and storage building. ■