Mission execution begins here.
Rescue 21, the U.S. Coast Guard’s advanced
direction-finding communications system, was
created to better locate mariners in distress and save
lives and property at sea and on navigable rivers.
By harnessing today’s cutting-edge technology,
Rescue 21 enables the Coast Guard to execute all
its missions, especially its search and rescue
mission, with greater agility and efficiency. The
system can also identify suspected hoax calls,
thereby eliminating unnecessary response actions
and conserving Coast Guard resources.
When completed, this major acquisition will
provide an updated, VHF radio communications
system that will replace the National Distress
Response System in use since the 1970s. Rescue • Uses direction-finding equipment to locate mariners
21’s expanded frequency capacity will enable
in distress using lines of bearing;
greater coordination with the Department of
Homeland Security, as well as other federal, • Provides VHF communications to vessels within a
state and local agencies and first responders. minimum 20-mile coastal radius;
By replacing outdated technology with a fully • Identifies and locates suspected hoax calls;
integrated system, Rescue 21 provides rescuers
• Improves interoperability with federal, state and local
with upgraded tools and technology to protect
America’s coasts and rescue mariners at sea. agencies;
• Allows simultaneous monitoring of multiple VHF
When fully deployed, Rescue 21 will provide channels;
coverage throughout the coastal continental United • Automates transmission of marine information
States, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S.
Virgin Islands, as well as modified coverage in broadcasts;
Alaska and along the Western Rivers. • Enhances clarity, recording and playback of distress
For Alaska and along the Western Rivers, Rescue • Closes coverage gaps for coastal communications;
21 is designed for each region’s unique operating
environment and terrain. At remote sites along the • Supports Digital Selective Calling, a system that can
Mississippi and Ohio rivers, Rescue 21 will upgrade transmit pre-formatted distress messages, including
current communications systems and facilities. Due GPS coordinates, when properly registered;
to Alaska’s unusually tough operating environment, • Provides portable, deployable towers and electronics
the Coast Guard will deploy a modified Rescue 21
system tailored to factors such as population for restoration of communications during emergencies
densities, marine traffic, supportability, durability, and natural disasters such as Hurricanes
accessibility, weather and terrain. Katrina, Gustav and Ike.
Commandant (CG-9) U.S. Coast Guard 2100 2nd St., S.W., Stop 7111, Washington, DC 20593-7111
ALASKA MISSION CAPABILITY Rescue 21 Operational Sectors:
• Supports Digital Selective Calling for registered users; Baltimore*
• Enhances clarity of distress calls; Boston*
• Allows simultaneous channel monitoring; Corpus Christi, Texas
• Enhances clarity, recording and playback of distress calls; Delaware Bay, Del.
• Reduces coverage gaps for coastal communications; Hampton Roads, Va.
• Automates transmission of marine information broadcasts. Humboldt Bay, Calif.
Key West, Fla.
WESTERN RIVERS Long Island, N.Y.
• Enhances clarity of distress calls; North Bend, Calif.
• Allows simultaneous channel monitoring; North Carolina
• Automates transmission of marine information broadcasts; Northern New England*
Port Angeles, Wash.
• Provides more supportable, modern technology. Portland, Ore.
The Rescue 21 systems in Alaska and the Western Rivers have San Francisco*
unique operating environments and features. Further Southeastern New England *
information can be found under the project tab of St. Petersburg, Fla.
* These Sectors are in conditional acceptance.
Final acceptance pending.
Installation of Rescue 21 across
the nation represents a quantum
Today Rescue 21
leap forward in command,
control and communications. By
closing coastal coverage gaps
and capturing more accurate
data from radio transmissions, the call of duty
the system offers an essential
tool in maritime security, search over 35,748 miles
and rescue and marine
environmental protection. of coastline.