Filed Under (Boating Safety) by Debbie on 30-04-2008

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  has been working on a project to help protect our ports and waterways and just released it’s “Small Vessel Securtiy Strategy” (SVSS).  The intent is to reduce potential security and safety risks from small vessels, that’s you and me.  Plus, the hope is to muster the help of all of us in reducing risks in the maritime domain.

This makes quite a bit of sense to me as we all see our boating areas quite often and would make a great ‘eyes on the water’ system.  I suppose SVSS could be viewed as a water based neighborhood watch program.  It will be interesting to see how this all comes together as there is a long standing public expectation of totally unregulated access and use of U.S. waterways.

The DHS feels we’re of bennefit to the country because:

  • An abundance of geographically dispersed small vessels providing a large number of “eyes on the water” that would be impossible to replace using only government assets.
  • An immense population of small vessel operators whose presence on U.S. waters can serve as a deterrent by identifying suspicious activities, given their adequate education and training.
  • Willing volunteer partners to assist in providing the initial response capability for maritime incidents.
  • A wealth of professional mariners and recreational boaters who understand the local waterways and are willing to assist in developing methods to reduce risk in the maritime domain.
  • I am reminded of a couple of movies here.  The first of course is ‘Captain Ron’ where the hero(?) trades transport of ‘armed revolutionaries’ for guns.  The second is ‘The Wackiest Ship in the Army’ where the sailboat full of US military and two Austrailian coast watchers sneak past the enemy disguised as a native sailboat.  I suppose given the attack of 9-11 we need to be thinking about such things.

    The DHS has a wonderful pdf of the entire thing so if you’re interested in more information you can read the ‘small vessel security strategy’

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