May 26, 2017 —
Left: The Rescue 21 tower in Hastings, Minnesota, provides emergency response coverage for part of the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers, south of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Right: The projected coverage for the Hastings tower. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
The Coast Guard conditionally accepted and began operating the Rescue 21 system in the Sector Upper Mississippi River Area of Responsibility May 2. This sector covers portions of the Mississippi, Illinois, Missouri and St. Croix rivers and extends across seven states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas.
The Rescue 21 system provides improved search and rescue communications and supports digital-selective calling, which allows boaters with properly installed equipment to transmit an automated distress signal including vessel location and other information at the push of a button.
The Coast Guard plans to begin using the Rescue 21 systems in the Lower Mississippi River and Ohio Valley by the end of June, at which point the Rescue 21 system will be operational throughout the entire Western Rivers region, which includes the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio Rivers and their major tributaries. Rescue 21 program personnel are working with the Command, Control and Communications Engineering Center to ensure that the Western Rivers system transitions smoothly from acquisition to sustainment.
The Rescue 21 system has also been installed along the coastline of the continental United States, Hawaii and several U.S. territories. The system will also be completed along parts of the Alaskan coast by the end of 2017.
For more information: Rescue 21 program page