The United States Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspected hoax caller, who has been transmitting distress calls since late March in the Ocean City, Maryland area.
The calls were made on VHF-FM marine band channel 16, which is a channel designated for hailing and distress calls. The caller stated they were “going down with the ship” and regularly broadcasted “mayday, mayday, mayday” along with other distress calls, that often included profanity.
“Hoax calls put other boaters and first responders at risk” said Commander Mathew Fine, the deputy commander of Sector Maryland-National Capital Region. He continued “We take every call seriously which means that hoax calls waste valuable resources that could be used for real distress cases.”
Coast Guard officials say penalties range from 10 years in prison to 250,000 dollars in fines as well as footing the bill for the cost of the search. A call is considered a hoax when it’s intention is to deceive the Coast Guard or emergency response officials.