The US Coast Guard is declaring Sea Area A1 in certain areas off the coast of the United States covering more than 36'000 miles of U.S. coastline in accordance with applicable provisions of the International SOLAS Convention. The Coast Guard defines Sea Area A1 as those areas where more than ninety percent of the area within 20 nautical miles seaward of the territorial baseline along the East, West and Gulf Coasts of the United States, excluding Alaska, and including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands of the United States, and the Northern Mariana Islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, is within coverage of Coast Guard Very High Frequency (VHF) Coast Stations that provide both a continuous watch for Digital Selective Calling (DSC) distress alerts on Channel 70 and a capability to respond to distress alerts.
Rescue 21 is the Coast Guard’s advanced command, control and direction-finding communications system that was created to better locate mariners in distress. By harnessing state-of-the-market technology, Rescue 21 enables the Coast Guard to execute its search and rescue missions with greater agility and efficiency which helps to save lives and property at sea and on navigable rivers.The Coast Guard’s Rescue 21 system is comprised of strategically placed VHF Coast Stations that provide a continuous watch on VHF Channel 70 for receiving, and responding to, DSC distress alerts. The Coast Guard urges all mariners to be sure that they have obtained and are using a proper Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI), and that their DSC radios are connected to Global Positioning System (GPS) devices (if the DSC radio does not have built-in GPS). Assuring that a DSC alert is accompanied by both a properly registered MMSI and a GPS location significantly enhances and expedites search and rescue efforts.