Coast Guard Contemplates Hands-Free Radio For Rescue Swimmers


Editors note – This interesting news story comes out of the US, the coast guard are looking to implement waterproof communications for their swimmers, we think it is a great idea, but will push the communication boundaries.


The US Coast Guard (USCG) is seeking potential suppliers for hands-free communication devices its rescue swimmers might use to talk to its aircraft. 

Although the Coast Guard is not making any commitment to purchase such communications devices at this time, the USCG Aviation Logistics Center said it is conducting research to determine what options might be available.

The hands-free device must have the capability to incorporate into existing rescue swimmer UHF radio (ICOM IC-M1V, and ICOM IC-M72) or replace it completely, operating on marine and military frequencies used by the Coast Guard (21, 22, 23, 81, 82, 83), the Aviation Logistics Center said in a solicitation Tuesday.

If potential devices serve as replacement radios, they must have a modular design and no connection to an air platform, the Coast Guard said. Moreover, they must not interfere with other communications.

Devices, which must be waterproof, should enable hands-free operations or come equipped with a microphone that has an easily accessible push button and an in-ear speaker. The Coast Guardexpressed an interest in so-called bone microphone technology, which is an inner-ear technology used in extrememly noisy environments to pick up bone-conducted speech.

The Coast Guard also specified that any device must fit under the Gath Gedi helmet used by its rescue swimmers or incorporate into the helmet. Devices must provide noise attenuation as the rescue swimmers work in extremely loud environments.

The Coast Guard will review all responses to its solicitation and publish a separate request for proposals later if it intends to move ahead with buying new equipment, the agency said. 

Interested businesses should contact Linda Stulick at the USCG Aviation Logistics Center in Elizabeth City, NC, by Nov. 19 to respond.