Coast Guard warns of severe penalties for false mayday reports - KPTV - FOX 12

Coast Guard warns of severe penalties for false mayday reports

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U.S. Coast Guard helicopter (file image) U.S. Coast Guard helicopter (file image)
WARRENTON, OR (KPTV) -

Anyone who makes a false mayday report to the U.S. Coast Guard could face six years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Coast Guard Sector Columbia River Command Center has received four potentially false mayday calls in just the last two weeks.

On Friday, the Coast Guard released information about the penalties for making false reports.

A hoax call to the Coast Guard is punishable by up to six years in prison, a $250,000 criminal fine, a $5,000 civil fine and reimbursement to the Coast Guard for operating costs.

"Hoax calls waste valuable time and resources, but most importantly it potentially puts responding personnel in danger and can interfere with legitimate search and rescue cases," said Lt. Cmdr. Erika Barron, command center chief, Sector Columbia River. "With busy spring and summer boating seasons, false distress calls can divert essential resources when they are needed elsewhere to ensure the safety of the public."

If a mayday call – actual or potentially false – is heard, boaters are encouraged to contact their local Coast Guard unit and relay what they heard.

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