Coast Guard to conduct security and weapons exercises on Hood Canal

Coast Guard District 13 announced that their Bangor unit is scheduled to conduct tactical, security, and weapons training exercises on Hood Canal.

Exercises will commence on Nov. 21, 2011 at 8 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

During the exercise, Maritime Force Protection personnel will fire blank rounds for weapons training. The Coast Guard has assured that blank rounds are not projectiles and no one person will have anything shot at them. However, the live fire and blasts will mimic real engagement.

"I doubt that the exercise will be in a location easily viewable by the public, they wouldn't want to incite any kind of panic in people who didn't know that it was just a training," said Petty Officer Eric Chandler, district 13 public affairs officer.

Petty Officer Chandler explained that the Coast Guard is careful about revealing the exact location of their security vessels for the protection of their crews.

The specific location of the exercise on Hood Canal could also change depending on weather influence.

According to Chandler, vessels may be moving at high speeds during the exercise. The Coast Guard plans to set up a safety zone to ensure that no unauthorized boats wander into the training course unaware during those hours.

"The Coast Guard will be making continuous announcements by vhf marine band radio to let people know there are vessels moving at high speeds and to be aware of increased activity. If, for whatever reason, a ship has its radio off, it will be approached by Coast Guard boats," said Chandler.

Coast Guard personnel will also be keeping a close eye on marine mammals in the area. Marine mammal 'spotters' have committed to reporting any wildlife activity and stopping the exercise if an animal is compromised.

The training is part of the Coast Guard's regular schedule of exercises to make sure that personnel and equipment is up to date.


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