Proceedings Fall 2014
In summary, the Coast Guard will continue to
improve SAR effectiveness by refining exist-
ing capabilities and leveraging new technolo-
gies. With maritime traffc projected to increase
steadily, during the next 10-20 years the Coast
Guard's continued leadership domestically and
internationally is critical to meet rising expecta-
tions for cost-effective, steady state emergency
response services in the maritime environment
and still remain prepared for large, complex con-
Several program offices reviewed and supported this
article, for which I am thankful. Certain individuals
deserve special thanks: CAPT Peter Martin, Mr. Jack
Frost, and Mr. Art Allen, all in the Offce of Search and
Rescue; LCDR Brian McLaughlin, Office of Aviation
Forces; Mr. Thomas Owens, Offce of Boat Forces and
CDR Aaron Sanders, Offce of Performance Assessment
About the author:
LCDR O'Mara has served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 13 years in capaci-
ties from deck offcer on a 378-foot high endurance cutter, and command-
ing offcer of patrol boats in California, Bahrain, and Puerto Rico. LCDR
O'Mara has earned fve commendation medals, and three meritorious unit
U.S. Coast Guard Addendum to the United States National Search and Rescue
Supplement to the International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue
Manual, COMDTINST M16130.2F, Jan 2013.
U.S. Coast Guard Arctic Strategy, May 2013.
USCG Acquisition Directorate – Rescue 21.
Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Project Slate FY14. Washington, DC:
U.S. Coast Guard, CG-92, Nov 7, 2013.
Acquisition Directorate Unmanned Aerial System Project Description.
In ensemble averaging, sets of data are obtained and averaged together to reduce
random fuctuations in the signal/data set.
Approximately 14 of these aircraft are expected to be acquired 2016-2020.
Coast Guard debuts faster boats for search-and-rescue and more. Edward Stratton, for
the Daily Astorian Apr 4, 2014.
Acquisition Directorate Response Boat Medium Project Description. Acquisition Direc-
torate Response Boat-Small Project Description.
Washington State Department of Transportation – Ferries Division Nation's Larg-
est Ferry System www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres/DEC2F450-2726-4185-A879-
Cruise Market Watch website, citing Cruise Lines International Association prod-
ucts. Accessed at: www.cruisemarketwatch.com/growth/.
Airbus and Dreamliner Battle for Airspace. Popular Mechanics, June 15, 2010. Accessed
FAA Aerospace Forecast Highlights Fiscal years 2013-2033. www.faa.gov/about/offce_
Culver, P., and Jesse Rangle. Black Swan 2013: A behind-the-scenes look at the
Coast Guard's largest mass rescue operation exercise series. Proceedings of the
Marine Safety and Security Council, Journal of Safety & Security at Sea, Summer 2014.
of birds. Fortunately, the incident occurred in an area
with plenty of Good Samaritans and local response
resources. But, what if it had happened 50 miles off the
■ More recently, the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines
fight MH-370 prompts one to consider how an effec-
tive MRO might be mounted in remote ocean areas far
Fortunately these incidents offer the Coast Guard a library
of lessons learned left in their wake. The Costa Concordia,
for example, spurred domestic and international scrutiny
toward crew training standards, safety equipment, and
mass rescue procedures.
In 2013, the Coast Guard took many lessons and rolled them
into an exercise to prepare for a major cruise ship catastro-
phe. Named after a rare event, "Black Swan"
was the larg-
est full-scale exercise in maritime history and tested con-
tingency preparedness and coordination for a mass rescue
scenario. In the exercise, an actual cruise ship experienced
a simulated catastrophe near the Bahamas, and dozens of
international, public, private, non-government organiza-
tions, and state entities coordinated to provide resources.
Similar exercises are planned for 2015, 2017, and 2019, rotat-
ing locations throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Lowering the survival craft for the Black Swan offshore mass rescue operation exercise.
Photo by Mr. Chris Todd, assistant public information offcer, Black Swan Mass Rescue