Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cell phone news re "*CG"

This just in on NYCKayaker from Chuck Sutherland (want to learn anything and everything about sailing canoes? Check out the site Chuck maintains" - thanks, Chuck! I don't have a cell phone myself, but this seems important enough to share.

Due to ongoing confusion, the Coast Guard is asking all cell phone providers nationwide, including those in New Jersey, to remove the specialized keying sequence "*CG", which is normally used to alert maritime emergency assistance, officials announced Wednesday.

The removal, which will be implemented in every state but Alaska, was decided on because of some cellular companies not changing the keying sequence after moving to digital systems, the Coast Guard said in a statement. That failure to change created a confusing patchwork of service that can add significant delays in the Coast Guard response.

Officials said the Coast Guard has requested that cell phone service providers reroute all "*CG" calls to the 911 operator and is advising all boaters to use VHF-FM radio as their primary means of making distress calls on the water.

Cell phone calls to 911 should be used only as a secondary option, the statement reads.

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