5 things to know about Marine Hoax Calls!

united states coast guard 

News Release  

Aug 23, 2017
U.S. Coast Guard 5th District Mid-Atlantic
Contact: 5th District Public Affairs
Office: (757) 398-6272
After Hours: (757) 434-7712

5 things to know about Marine Hoax Calls!

A rescue swimmer hangs below an MH-60 Medium Range Recovery Helicopter Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, during a search and rescue demonstration near Elizabeth City, N.C. U.S. Coast Guard helicopters were painted the retro color scheme to celebrate the Coast Guard's aviation centennial birthday. (U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Lt. Cmdr. Krystyn Pecora)

Editors' Note: Click on images to download high resolution version.

Every year the U.S. Coast Guard responds to thousands of search and rescue cases. Some of those, however, lead to empty waters at taxpayer expense. Annually, the Coast Guard responds to150 suspected or confirmed hoax calls wasting valuable Coast Guard resources. Not only does it put other boaters who may be in danger and our crews at risk, it’s also a crime with serious consequences!

So here are the five top reasons why you shouldn’t make a hoax call and why it’s important to report it if you know of someone who has made one:



1. It’s illegal! Making a hoax call may result in 10 years in prison, a $10,000 fine and financial reimbursement to the CG and other involved agencies.

Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter pilots from Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., fly a Jayhawk above Norfolk, Va., June 12, 2016. The helicopter crew later performed a search and rescue demonstration before a crowd that gathered on the Norfolk waterfront for the annual Harborfest event. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Auxiliarist David Lau)


2. Fuel is pricey! A search using an HC-130 Super Hercules plane costs approximately $15,000 per hour, and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter operates at approximately $10,000 per hour. Boat rescues costs top out at approximately $5,000 per hour.

A man aboard the 33-foot recreational vessel Split Bill is escorted by a 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew after the vessel lost its port engine in Oregon Inlet, North Carolina, Monday, April 25, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet performed four tows and one escort throughout the day, rescuing 12 lives. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Josh Perkins)

4. It’s getting easier to catch callers! In addition to the capability to triangulate the location of most radio calls, the Coast Guard is developing new technology to identify hoaxers. The Coast Guard Research and Development Center’s newest tech can determine the unique vocal identity, like a fingerprint, of hoax callers. Yes, that includes silly voices.

Two crew members from Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, hang from an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter during a search and rescue demonstration March 3, 2017, in Hampton, Virginia. Agencies from all across Virginia gathered for the Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads and Virginia Port Authority 11th Annual Steven Todd Dooley Search and Rescue Forum. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Auxiliarist Trey Clifton/Released)

5. If you hear a hoax call, you can help! You can contact the Coast Guard through the Coast Guard Mobile App at https://www.uscg.mil/mobile/. Reporting hoax callers helps save time and resources and stop further hoax calls.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Lawrence, an aviation maintenance technician at Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., prepares for a flight aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter June 13, 2016. Lawrence is a flight mechanic responsible for running the hoist that raises people to, and lowers them from, the helicopter. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Auxiliarist David Lau)

The Coast Guard’s mission is to save lives, whether it’s by rescuing a person having heart problems on a cruise ship or saving the lives of mariners on a sinking sailboat, the Coast Guard answers the call.