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NTSB warns Coast Guard about cell phone distractions

August 12, 2010

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The National Transportation Safety Board on Aug. 11 warned the U.S. Coast Guard about the potential for crewmembers to be distracted by the use of cell phones and other wireless devices while engaged in vessel operations.

According to a safety recommendation letter (.pdf file), the warning was issued in light of two marine incidents involving U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats. The incidents remain under investigation.

NTSB recommendations include:

  • Develop and implement national and local policies that address the use of cell phones and other wireless devices aboard U.S. Coast Guard vessels.
  • Issue a safety advisory to the maritime industry that promotes awareness of the risk posed by the use of cell phones and other wireless devices while operating vessels, and encourages the voluntary development of operational policies to address the risk.

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