Coast Guard introduces new signal system to warn boats - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Coast Guard introduces new signal system to warn boats

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A 12-gauge military shotgun loaded with LA51 signal and warning shells. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by PO3 Angela Henderson) A 12-gauge military shotgun loaded with LA51 signal and warning shells. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by PO3 Angela Henderson)
LA51 signal and warning shells. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by PO3 Angela Henderson) LA51 signal and warning shells. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by PO3 Angela Henderson)
MYFOXNY.COM -

The U.S. Coast Guard will be using a nonlethal shotgun signaling system to warn boaters in the Long Island Sound and other waters off New England.

The signal, called the LA51, is a special shell fired from a standard 12-gauge military shotgun that produces a flash and a bang. The flash and noise are more prominent than a splash in the water caused by the M-16 tracer round, the Coast Guard said.

"The new LA51 warning device is designed to warn boaters in a safe and effective manner if they do not respond to calls on the marine radio from the Coast Guard or comply with our instructions in case of a security violation," said Capt. Verne Gifford, commander of Coast Guard Southeastern New England. "

The Coast Guard has been using the signal system in anti-drug trafficking mission and migrant interception operations, officials said.

Captain Gifford said crews have now been trained to use the system during security zone enforcement and other port and coastal security missions. Crews will be allowed to use it to warn wayward boaters in approved locations.

Testing has showed that the LA51 system has a low risk of injuring someone, the military said.

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