U.S. Coast Guard to Test Autonomous Response Boat

I’m unclear on what this is about. It’s happening in my backyard, so I have a legitimate concern. So hoping others can chime in where the article left much info to be desired.

Is this just a “test platform” for the USCG to learn more? Are they intending to do something with this type of vessel within their own fleet?? If so, what? I can’t fathom what ‘utility’ an unmanned RIB (or other types of vessels) would be of use to the USCG. Aren’t they in the business of SAR and NAV-AID work, that requires much “hands-on” effort by humans?

If I’m wrong or not thinking about something, please let me know. But the MSST RIBs that run around inside our primary harbor already have historic and significant “communication” issues. In other words, when we call them on the VHF using the port’s working frequency, they never answer. They only listen to 16 and 22A. No matter how much, how often we beg them to listen to port channel 12, they just can’t/won’t.

Now you want to put an unmanned MSST type craft in the water around working commercial vessels? Oh boy, sounds like fun!

1 Like

From the article: “The tests announced today will take place next month off the coast of Hawaii, during which the RDC team will test and evaluate the Sharktech vessel’s autonomous capabilities for potential in supporting USCG surveillance, interdiction, patrol, and other missions.”

So it will probably be a lil spy boat, loaded with cameras, sneaking up on the dope runners. Forget about them ever replying to a radio call. Wouldn’t it be funny if someone tried to steal it?



USCG/Navy moving quickly towards learning about robot boats. Neither have really engaged in discussing the consequences of these platforms being at sea and what happens when things go wrong.

Frankly, they don’t care. They’re the Federal gov’t so they believe they are exempt from everything and “the rules apply to THEE and not to me!”

Sadly, budgets getting sliced up to accommodate the new “Gee-whiz” technology at the expense of basic fundamental operations.

I firmly believe the USCG needs to get out of overseas drug interdiction ops. Spin off those missions to DEA and others better equipped to go get the bad guys. USCG needs to find its way back to more comprehensive brown water missions and serving our industry.

1 Like

And who knows that better than the USCG themselves. Down to what, two icebreakers and one of them had a bad fire? Why are they the ones tasked with all this drug interdiction crap anyway?

1 Like

They are the only ones outside the navy with the capability. The DEA is land bound. I don’t know what the answer is but the DEA was established less than 50 years ago and already has offices in 68 countries. Can you imagine the size of the budget and the ensuing boondoggle if they were given the mission to take to the high seas.

1 Like

Good point, plus the CG started out as the Revenue Service to crack down on smuggling. Then the rum runners during prohibition. Agree or disagree with the drug war; interdiction seems like it would be right up the CG’s alley.

1 Like

Has USCG lost any of their Autonomous Response Boats?
If so one has been found in Scotland:

It is “down current” from their area of operation, so could be from the GoM or off Florida.

Only 10% of Americans think the war on drugs is a success and yet the government persists with a failed policy. With a little over 4% of the world’s population the US consumes 80% of the world’s opioids. Let the numbers sink in: The cost of this giant unwinnable whack-a-mole game has cost the US taxpayer over $1 trillion since 2001. That’s $51 billion a year.

1 Like