92ºF

How the Coast Guard protects Space Coast waterways

From rocket launches to counterterrorism, station ready for anything

Although it's the smallest of the military branches, the U.S. Coast Guard is the world's 12th largest naval force. One of their stations is located in Port Canaveral.
 
"We have duty crews that stay here for two days straight, and they're here during that time waiting to answer the call," Commanding Officer David Ladomirak said.
 
From a distress call to a search and rescue to assisting law enforcement and migrant cases, the Coast Guard is ready for anything. They keep vigilant from their communications room on base and from offshore.

"One of the missions that's really been taking up a lot of our hours is what we call port waterways and coastal security -- assuredness for counterterrorism missions," Ladomirak said. "When any of the cruise ships are coming in and out of port, we're gonna make sure that they're safe coming in and going out."
 
The Port Canaveral station is responsible for about 50 miles offshore, and from the north end of Titusville all the way down to Malabar.
 
They also have an additional unique mission on the Space Coast.
 
"When there is a rocket launch, there are hazards," Coast Guard liaison Robert Martin said. "We prepare broadcast, notify the mariners, that way we can inform the public of the activity prior to the rocket launch. Within 45 minutes we activate a safety zone about 12 nautical miles."
 
Anyone within those safety zones to see a launch could possibly see some jail time instead.
 
"If we have a willful violation, it is an arrestable offense, prosecutable, it can be up to $250,000 fine or up to six years in prison if they violate," Martin said.
 
Port Canaveral is home to the Vigilant Cutter --a 210-foot-long vessel that's been involved in numerous operations.


About the Author: