AMW has joined the search for answers in the disappearance of James Trindade, an experienced boater who vanished off the coast of Florida in January 2006. Authorities still don’t know whether he was the victim of foul play, but his family fears the worst. Though his disappearance remains a mystery, it’s a strong reminder to stay alert while on the water. And with so many potential terrorist targets accessible by sea, the stakes go well beyond personal safety.
The United States Coast Guard is reaching out to businesses, local governments, and the recreational boating public to help secure the nation’s waterways. The America’s Waterway Watch program encourages citizens to be on the lookout for suspicious activity, especially in the waterfront areas they know best.
What suspicious activity should you look for? The Coast Guard has these suggestions:
- People appearing to be engaged in surveillance of any kind (note taking, shooting video/photos, making sketches, or asking questions).
- Unattended vessels or vehicles in unusual locations.
- Lights flashing between boats.
- Unusual diving activity.
- Unusual number of people onboard.
- Unusual night operations.
- Recovering or tossing items into/onto the waterway or shoreline.
- Operating in or passing through an area that does not typically have such activity.
- Fishing/hunting in locations not typically used for those activities.
- Missing fencing or lighting near sensitive locations.
- Anchoring in an area not typically used for anchorage.
- Transfer of people or things between ships or between ship and shore outside of port.
- Anyone operating in an aggressive manner.
- Individuals establishing businesses or roadside food stands near sensitive locations.
- Small planes flying over critical locations.
- People attempting to buy or rent fishing or recreational vessels with cash for short-term, undefined use.
If you do notice suspicious activity, make a call to the National Response Center at 1-877-24WATCH. In an immediate emergency, dial 9-1-1 or call the Coast Guard on Marine VHF-FM Channel 16.
For more information about what you can do to help, check out the America’s Waterway Watch website.