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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed an electric fish barrier across the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to prevent the dispersal of aquatic nuisance species and counter the invasive species threat from the Asian carp. With the introduction of the fish barrier, the Coast Guard was challenged to improve its ability to safely conduct rescue missions specifically related to a person in electrified water.


The Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC) conducted a series of literature reviews and in-depth field tests that provided for a thorough investigation of:
  • Operational problems associated with rescue in electrified water;
  • Rescue capabilities and gaps for electrified water conditions; and
  • Specialized personal protective equipment and specialized rescue equipment that allows for the safe retrieval of an incapacitated person in electrified water.

The results of these tests will be reported to the Coast Guard's 9th District commander, Office of Boat Forces and Office of Search and Rescue. The report will also include recommendations for operational guidance and a training program. Plans for fiscal year 2012 are to examine the risks to commercial and recreational mariners that transit in the vicinity of the barrier.