DEAR GREAT LAKES BOATERS
With boating season well under way, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and ask for your assistance in helping to keep our Great Lakes safe and secure.
I am the operational commander for all Coast Guard forces on the Great Lakes - more than 7,000 active duty, Reserve and Auxiliary men and women. Prior to my arrival in Cleveland, I served as the Assistant Commandant for Systems and Chief Engineer, where my responsibilities included all logistics and engineering concerns for the Coast Guard's $19 billion capital plant - with approximately 23,000 structures, 230 ships, 1,200 boats and 200 aircraft. With more than 31 years serving this great country of ours, I look forward to working with the largest recreational boating population in the United States.
September 11, 2001 changed our lives forever. It most certainly changed the role of the Coast Guard on the Great Lakes. The increased demand for security has been challenging. The men and women of the Coast Guard dedicate our services to the safety of our nation, but that doesn't mean we can do it alone. We need your help.
You can be the eyes and ears that help keep America safe and secure. We have started a Homeland Security Coast Watch Program designed to increase awareness and enlist the assistance of persons witnessing suspicious activities. With your local knowledge of our ports and waterways and familiarity with the activities in a given area, you can be an invaluable source of information to us.
The activities listed below are of interest to law enforcement organizations. These activities may be innocent. However, reporting them when they take place under suspicious circumstances helps ensure our security. Look for unattended vehicles or vessels in unusual places; unusual vehicle or boat characteristics; unusual number of people on board vessels; unusual filming activity; unusual diving operations near bridges or facilities; or any aggressive or suspicious activity.
Please do not do anything more than gather and provide information. Record what you observe and do not try to stop any illegal activity. For suspect activity in our around your community, contact your local Coast Guard unit or local authorities.
I encourage you to go out and enjoy the Lakes. And when you go, help us in protection our great nation and its waters. By working together, we can prevail.
RONALD F. SILVA
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard