“All Coast Guard ports, waterways and coastal security units in the Sector St. Petersburg AOR will be capable of employing the LA51 signal and warning device,” said Ensign Andrew Denning, a member of Sector St. Petersburg Enforcement Division in a news release.
The LA51, according to the Coast Guard, is fired from a 12-gauge military shotgun to produce a visible and audible signal at a range of 100 meters. This signal and warning device is considered a safer alternative to the current warning devices used by Coast Guard personnel.
It is a shorter range round, and the flash and noise produced by the device are more prominent than a splash in the water caused by the M16 tracer round. Additionally, the Department of Defense’s joint non-lethal weapons program has determined through their testing that the LA51 has a low risk of significant injury. Additionally, the Coast Guard determined there is no environmental impact when employing LA51, a news release said.
“The new LA51 warning device is designed to warn boaters in a safe and effective manner if they do not respond to calls on the marine radio from the Coast Guard or comply with our instructions in case of a security violation," said Denning in a news release. "Our crews are trained to use the device safely and properly as one of several options for responding to potential maritime threats."
“We will be using the LA51 primarily for the enforcement of security zones and for warning non-compliant vessels,” Denning added.