USCG: Making False Distress Calls is a Felony

The U.S. Coast Guard in Maryland and Washington is conducting the 2nd annual Operation Mayday from April 15 to May 15.

During the operation, the Coast Guard will visit marinas to inform boaters about the dangers of making false distress calls – a felony punishable by law.

“Since April 1st, 2012, under Operation Mayday, the Coast Guard has visited over 170 marinas in Maryland and Washington, D.C.,” said Otis E. Harris Jr., Special Agent in Charge at Coast Guard Investigative Service Chesapeake Region.

By visiting marinas, the Coast Guard is looking to the boating community for any knowledge on false distress calls.

“The Coast Guard is asking for the public to be vigilant, to help identify those individuals responsible for false distress calls, and [we’re] counting on those with information to come forward,” said Harris. “No bit of information, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, is too small. Each piece moves us forward toward justice. It is extremely important to contact us with any information regarding false distress calls.”

Coast Guard Investigative Service Baltimore has established a 24-hour telephone line to report anyone who is suspected of making false distress calls. Anyone with information is asked to call 410-576-2696.

The maximum penalty for making a false distress call is six years in prison, a $5,000 civil fine, a $250,000 criminal fine and reimbursement to the Coast Guard.

Courtesy of

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