The Coast Guard developed the Waterway Watch Program to encourage the reporting of suspicious activity around America’s Waterways.
The program, which has a similar basis to the well-known Neighborhood Watch program, aims to keep waterways as safe as possible and preempt activities that could be a threat to national security.
USCG is calling for anyone involved with, or in the proximity of, waterways, from marina operators to those who live or work nearby, to sign up for the initiative. Participants are not formally joining an organization and do not become members of the Coast Guard or any other law enforcement agency – the Waterway Watch Program just provides an arena for safely reporting suspicious activity.
Anyone who spends time on or near water, whether that’s ports, docks, beaches or waterfront communities, will know what is normal and what is not, and will be in the best position to identify potential threats to homeland security. The initiative asks participants to be particularly vigilant about suspicious activity near industrial facilities, military bases or places with a high volume of passengers such as ferry terminals.
The program has a hotline and detailed instructions about reporting suspicious activity – first, call the National Response Center at 877-24WATCH. For immediate danger to life or property, call 911, or call the U. S. Coast Guard on Marine Channel 16. USCG is quick to stress, though, that members of the public should not approach anyone about to commit a crime; instead, observe, take notes or even photos, but keep a safe distance.
USCG is looking for organizations to become partners of the initiative and spread the word. To become an America’s Waterway Watch partner, sign up here