Coast Guard Program Focuses Its Attention on Marinas and Boat Ramps

By Matthew Harwood


Focused Lens, however, seeks to establish a network of aware citizens and Coast Guard processes to detect and disrupt an attack before it can occur. Before Operation Focused Lens was implemented in California, Hill said, the Coast Guard simply didn’t visit marinas. Now Coast Guardsmen in the state regularly visit high-risk marinas and establish relationships with marina operators and live-a-boards in the hope of receiving suspicious activity reports.

Coast Guardsmen also assess the security measures marinas take as well as whether the marina is close to attractive terrorism targets--like cruise ship terminals or chemical facilities--to determine how frequently to conduct random patrols and boardings around that marina.

The resulting relationships and suspicious activity reports have already helped District 11 Coast Guardsmen discover meth labs, boat thieves, poaching, drunken boat races, and maritime copper thefts.

Hill believes a vigilant citizenry could have helped prevent the Mumbai attacks from occurring and he’s hoping his program can maximize that possibility in the United States.

“There were Indian fisherman that saw this unusual activity, but they didn’t report it,” Hill said. “If they had reported it, maybe India could have done something. That [is] the focus of Operation Focused Lens, getting people to report.”

♦ Photo by momentcaptured1/Flickr


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