Coast Guard seeing a rise in crank phone calls

Coast Guard seeing rise in fake distress calls

The message from the U.S. Coast Guard this summer: knock it off.

They say they have seen a rise in the number of fake distress calls, with some of the calls, impossible to detect as hoaxes.

“It’s a risk every time you go out on the water, so it’s putting our Coast Guard personnel at risk,” said Brian McCrum, U.S. Coast Guard. “It’s also taking up assets that could be used for other real search and rescue cases.

McCrum said more than 160 fake distress calls have already come in across all the Great Lakes this year, compared to 55 last year.

The calls cost taxpayers’ money.

Each boat costs about $4500 per hour to respond and each helicopter is about $16,000. It can take up to 3 hours before the Coast Guard determines a call was a hoax and calls off a search.

If a person gets caught, they could face up to 6 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.

McCrum says if you ever think someone on your boat made a crank call or reported something that was not an emergency, you should radio or call right away to clear up any possible confusion.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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