Private Boaters Asked to Report Suspicious Activity on Water

August 1, 2008

Those guys have AK-47s!  Do I still have the right of way?

Those guys have AK-47s! Do I still have the right of way?

Here in Seattle, there are huge banners in front of the port asking private citizens to report suspicious activity on the waterways. This has been in the works for several years, and is mentioned in the Department of Homeland Secruity’s proposal for improving maritime security from 2004. It looks like this inititiative, which, among many other things, asks private boaters to be more proactive in observing their environments and reporting suspicious activity, is getting more formally implemented in our nation’s most important ports and waterways. Buffalo’s mayor has offered his city’s boaters as watchdogs for the DHS; how this program is different from DHS’ banner campaign around other ports is unclear.

You know, this is probably a good idea. While many boaters will likely continue on their way relatively clueless about what’s going on around them, and there will certainly be some false positives, this at least gets people thinking about the issue of maritime security and maybe, if someone sees a guy with a tube that looks like it might be a stinger missile, he’ll call the FBI and they’ll get him before he shoots down a plane. You never know.

OK, that sounded kind of stupid. My guess is this will net some illegals and maybe some drugs. Really, what’s suspicious mean? I think DHS should define what they think constitutes suspicious behavior, in detail, before launching this. Yeah, that sounds hard, and sure, you don’t want to give terrorists a blueprint to avoid detection, but unleashing fearful boaters without any guidelines seems just as bad. I guess there’s no easy answer. Terrorism sucks.

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One Response to “Private Boaters Asked to Report Suspicious Activity on Water”

  1. Exotic Electron said

    Terrorism is a tactic. Our, “War on Terrorism”, is what sucks.

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