Coast Guard Boston to Test Experimental “Warning Munitions”

Coast Guard crews in Boston are adding “warning munitions”, a type of projectile launched via shotgun, to Coast Guard assets conducting vessel escorts in Boston Harbor as a test for potential nationwide implementation. Coast Guard Station Boston is adopting the munitions as another means to warn non-compliant boaters that they are entering a security zone.

The 12-gauge shotgun ammunition can be fired from a Coast Guard vessel into the path of a boat that has failed to respond to radio calls and other signals. The munitions is curiously being termed “less than lethal.”

Once fired, the plastic and aluminum projectile ignites after approximately 100 meters (300 yards) to create a bright flash of light and loud sound to get the attention of a wayward boater. If the vessel operator refuses to respond, more aggressive tactics can then be taken.

“The Coast Guard, working with local and state authorities, conducts a vital and complex maritime security mission,” said Lt. Garrett Meyer of Coast Guard Sector Boston’s response department. “We are always looking for safe, effective opportunities to better protect our waterways. The munitions are an unmistakable warning to non-compliant vessels that will help us keep the Port of Boston safe.”

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