America’s coasts, rivers, bridges, tunnels, ports, ships, military bases, and waterside industries may be the terrorists’ next targets. Though waterway security is better than ever, with more than 95000 miles of shoreline, over 290,000 square miles of water, and approximately 70 million recreational boaters in the United States, the Coast Guard and local first responders can not do the job alone.
America’s Waterway Watch is similar to the Coast Watch program of World War II, which caused the early growth of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, a group of citizen-volunteers who were mobilized as a uniformed, civilian component of the Coast Guard to scan the coast for U-boats and saboteurs attempting to infiltrate the shores of the United States. Today, America’s Waterway Watch goes one step further: It calls on ordinary citizens like you – who spend much of their on and around America’s waterways – to assist in the War on Terrorism on the Domestic Front.
The enemy this nation faces today is unlike any other in our history. The operatives who may be attempting to enter the United States via our waterfront areas, whether as stowaways on ships entering our ports or on pleasure craft entering our marinas, do not wear a uniform or carry arms openly. They have chosen to attack us using unconventional warfare, and we must be prepared to report events such as people entering our country illegally along the hundreds of miles of coastline, and people preparing to attack our critical infrastructure. America’s Waterway Watch calls on all port and waterfront users to report suspicious activity in and around the area where they live, work and play.
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It is not the intent of America’s Waterway Watch to spread paranoia or to encourage spying on one another, and it is not a surveillance program. Instead, it is a simple deterrent to potential terrorist activity. The purpose of America’s Waterway Watch is to allow you and your fellow Americans who work and spend their leisure time on the waterways and waterfront to assist the federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies by being ever vigilant in recognizing possible threats and crimes on and around our waterways.