The National Small Vessel Security Summit

Inform small vessel stakeholders on security risks in the U.S. maritime domain.

Provide a national forum for small vessel stakeholders to discuss and present their ideas on the development of security measures to mitigate gaps in small vessel management and control in the maritime domain.

Provide a national forum for state and local government officials, as well as private industry members of the small vessel population to discuss transportation concerns regarding security threats and present their ideas.

Listed below are a few major themes discussed by participants in breakout sessions.

These themes do not indicate consensus or priorities.

Risk assessment based measures to best channel actions and resources

The balance and trade-offs between freedom, security, and economy

Consistent policies with specialized implementation to fit the unique characteristics of each individual port

Establishment of resource requirements and funding streams

Enhanced maritime security based on a coherent overall national strategy with a layered approach

Intelligence, information sharing, local awareness and feedback

A culture of partnership and trust within and across the boating community and public and private sector

Expanded education and outreach for a variety of safety, security and trust-building purposes;

Enhanced education and support of citizen/stakeholder - volunteer based watch systems in the maritime domain.

Enhanced coordination, cooperation and communications between federal, state and local agencies.

Operator identification using available credentials
A strong regime of international agreements and cooperation to “push out the borders” and defeat the threat before it reaches U.S. waters

Technologies and operational aspects of detecting radiological and nuclear threats, vessel identification and tracking, situational awareness, information sharing

From here it has branched out into regional summits, there are not that many of them, and like I said attendance was 'low'

(Download the report)

Here is the full report, I believe it is 122 pages long, I read and underscored specific concerns after printing.

West Coast Small Vessel Security Summit
May 3, 2008, Long Beach, California
I was invited by Ray Tsuneyoshi, Director of Cal Boating to attend the WCSVSS. I had heard about it on May 1st, the USCG had issued a press release that day. There were approximately 115 persons in attendance. The information below is based upon notes I took and does not necessarily reflect the exact words or presentations of the speakers, but will give a general impression of the topics.
Shawn Alladio-K38 Water Safety
The objective of the one-day summit is to focus the broad West Coast regional stakeholder community on a range of issues and to launch continuing interactions regarding management of small vessel security risk in the U.S. maritime domain.
The Summit format will consist of an address by Rear Adm. Craig E. Bone, Commander of the Eleventh Coast Guard District in Alameda, discussions about America's Waterways Watch program, small vessel security issues and a small vessel threat workshop.
The Eleventh Coast Guard District, which encompasses California, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, had over 1 million registered boaters in 2006. Saturday's activities are centered on providing a regional forum for small vessel operators, both commercial and recreational, to identify their U.S. maritime domain security issues and concerns in the Western states
Keynote speakers
  • RADM Craig E. Bone, USCG Commander Eleventh District
  • Lt John Taylor, USCG-America’s Waterways Watch (AWW)
  • Mr. Robert Gauvin, USCG-DHS Small Vessel Security Strategy
  • Mr. George Murphy, Homeland Security Institute-Small Vessel Threat Workshop and Discussions

West Coast Small Vessel Security Panel
(Small Vessel Stakeholder Representatives)

The panelists were:
- Mr. Ray Tsuneyoshi, California Department of Boating and Waterways
- Captain Ray Lyman, Catalina Channel Express
- Ms. Margot Brown, National Boating Federation (2 million members)
- Mr. Tom Welch, Westrec Marine
- Mr. Dan Mclinksy, Customs and Border Patrol in Seattle

Mr. Ray Tsuneyoshi
Mr. Tsuneyoshi presented background information on Cal Boating and our recreational boating community. Currently many State funds are circumnavigated from existing programs to provide for homeland security issues. Ray discussed the NASBLA Policy Paper on the Marine Securities Grants Act. NASBLA proposes a budged in state homeland security funding to be targeted to the maritime environment. The legislation would create a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant program to be administrated through the USCG that would allow state marine officials to pay for overtime for personnel, use of existing equipment, equipment maintenance and replacement, fuel and training.

Captain Ray Lyman
Catalina Island Express runs 8 vessels through 4 ports to Catalina Island. The MTSA 2002 Act included many passenger vessel loads for revision and government regulation, which put many operators out of business. To stay in business, CIE partnered with the USCG after the impacts of 9/11 with plans and approvals, including shore and boat based training. This included security, drills and exercises and documentation, all of which incur additional expenses which are costly. Catalina Express partnered in Security & Safety with Fire, Pilot, Port and shipping with the USCG. The negative aspects are numerous, and often over regulated. In respect to private enterprise and small vessel participation it is better to avoid unwanted regulation through partnership. ‘Best to play now, not pay later”. It appears that many businesses will be affected, even have to shut down operations if the restrictions, regulations and requirements do not allow for normal operations and profit for a business venture to survive.

Ms. Margot Brown
The USCG is not doing a good enough job with their public relations on the America’s Waterways Watch, their statistics are not correct in terms of actual numbers of recreational boaters. It is simple to purchase a boat for a bad purpose. IN 2007 the report states 197 incidents, not over 200 suspicious looking incidents in all waters of the US? Citizens are not living up to their potential, we have to make ourselves more useful for Homeland Security. The USCG needs to get behind one specific project nationally, AWW is the first real possibility for recreational boaters, it was started in 2005, but I have just heard about it 2 weeks ago. It would be far easier if the USCG could keep the information standardized, and simple for the American boating community. There is no verification data program on the purchase of a boat. Do you want to be loved or do you want to be respected (USCG)?

Mr. Tom Welch
Recreational Boaters and Marina Operators
  • Recognize Suspicious Activity
  • How to not be unwilling facilitator
  • Keep our waterways open and free for legitimate use
  • How do we respond to an event?
1) Report anything out of the ordinary. Lessons learned, incidents that take place need to be identified and shared with the boater community. (Specifics-share the agency experience). Coordinated message to all agencies collectively. 1 or 2 things need to be handed to the boaters, a consistent and simple message.
2) Unwilling Facilitator: Preventive actions to use our Americas Waterway Watch program, do not lock boats up, make them open and available. Facilitate advice and information to boaters and new boaters, (receptive).
3) Controlled navigation areas off limits to anything but heavy commercial traffic, without clearance from Port Police, no access to these zones, and pirating issues addressed.

Dan Mclinsky
Compliance of Regulations: The AWW is a valiant effort, but needs the cooperation of the recreational vessel community nationwide. This includes zones from rivers, lakes, and our oceans on navigable waterways, and working with waterfront home owners who would notice anything out of the ordinary in their community. If a recreational boater witnesses anything unusual or out of the ordinary in an area they frequent such as large bales being unloaded or carried on a vessel, or behavior not common to the activity they need to report it. We need to tighten security and identify those who want to enter our country illegally, by identify who is coming into our country by travel documents, customs or TSA.

Open Public Comment

Shawn Alladio/K38-There is a lot of prejudice against personal watercraft due to negative operator behaviors, these craft are on the target list of potential terrorist use. Technology is advancing the use of Personal Watercraft design and function with horsepower, economy and handling. US economic pressures are causing more boaters to navigate towards PWC purchase due to the increase in fuel/storage costs from traditional recreational power vessels. Partnership with the four major PWC manufacturers and the American Watercraft Association can help get the proper AWW information to the AWA members or recent PWC owners, through newsletters, online forums or printed materials.

There are two documented terrorist cases using PWC’s, one in Israel and the other in the Straits of Gibraltar. My concern is when training agencies and military with these boats, the layers of communication can break down. If the local Emergency services are notified per our trainings such as law enforcement or fire, what if another agency doesn’t receive the data and gets a notice of suspicious activity? People (boaters/citizens) can over react if they haven’t made the proper contact and been assured of our training activities.

Our military classes, we run out of San Diego, Pearl Harbor or elsewhere, we are totally blacked out running after dark all hours and/or conducting night operations for search and rescue training. 911 calls from the public in California go direct to the CHP then they are patched to the locality, how will the Homeland Security communication or reporting system be enforced in a false alarm? I don’t want our students or business to be affected by a false alarm and a show of force due to communication error or be charged for the response services? I want assurance the system will protect our training programs and students for homeland security and public safety.

A PWC or any boat can be stolen from a mooring, a dock or a storage facility, it could be weeks before it is reported missing and used as a terrorist tool. GPS tracking can be disengaged. I want to know the identification process for students and tracking of that database, a boat license/personal license carried at all times or specific to a vessel? Mandatory documentation of all vessels in direct relation to education and boater experience; how is this credentialing process going to affect my business and my students?

Next speakers:
  • The fishing community has been greatly affected by government regulations, but is also an undervalued asset. Many boat owners are at the docks, on the water and are familiar in their communities with boater activity.
  • It takes and Act of Congress to change anything, and an asset is being ignored in fisheries. Information on the boat from the AWW is needed, simple and concise, but it does no good for it to be at home. GPS chips can be placed in boats for tracking purposes. 98% of boaters want to comply, but where is the help to guide us?
  • Media doesn’t’ want to give out positive information, they focus on other news so it’s difficult to distribute this information to the boater and general public.
  • Networking: Creating a community of local stakeholders such as the Citizen Action Network in Washington, observers from the homeowners association, whom have all come forward and put their name on a list.
  • 911-Emergency calls go direct to the CHP, many of these phone calls are put on hold for up to 20 minutes, there needs to be a dedicated AWW direct phone line
  • There is no AWW information at the boat shows in 2008
  • US Power Squadrons has 45,000 members who train many of our nations boaters in classes across the United States. USPS could print a handout specific to the AWW program to its student base.
  • Layered response to the terrorist incident
1) What to protect?
2) What to tell the boater?
3) What can we expect from Government?
4) Information overload, focus on a simple and direct program.