The Coast Guard Cutter ALERT is the last 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter constructed. The keel was laid on January 5, 1968, at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland, and she was commissioned on Coast Guard Day—August 4, 1969. ALERT derives her name from the early 19th century sailing ship of the same name, which was commissioned into the Revenue Cutter Service in 1818.
ALERT has a long and distinguished record of Coast Guard service. Prior to being assigned to her present homeport of Astoria, Oregon, she was stationed at the Coast Guard Recruit Training Center in Cape May, New Jersey. She conducted fisheries conservation patrols in the North Atlantic as well as alien migration interdiction and drug enforcement operations in the Caribbean.
In January of 1993, ALERT returned to her birthplace at Curtis Bay for Mid-life Maintenance Availability (MMA), which extended her service life well into the twenty-first century. These improvements included modernization of living and working quarters for the crew, installation of updated electronics systems, and redesign of major engineering and damage control spaces. Following MMA, ALERT was assigned to Astoria, Oregon, in the fall of 1994.
ALERT has a designed endurance of approximately 14 days and a cruising range of 5,000 miles at a speed of 15 knots. Direct pilothouse control of her two 2,500 horsepower engines, together with variable pitch twin screws, allows for great control and maneuverability. ALERT carries two small boats which are utilized to conduct boardings and rescue and assistance on the high seas. She can also accommodate a Coast Guard MH-65C Dolphin, which offers increased effectiveness as a search and rescue and law enforcement asset.
ALERT's primary missions are reflected in her motto, “Rescue, Enforce, and Defend.” Her crew patrols the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone to protect living marine resources from foreign fishing interests and board domestic fishing vessels to enforce federal fisheries and vessel safety laws. ALERT also enforces laws regarding illegal immigration and contraband. She is always prepared to respond to search and rescue incidents to protect life and property at sea. Since 2003, ALERT has been called upon to undertake the latest Coast Guard mission of Homeland Security. Guarding America's West Coast ports and ensuring the safety of vessels, cargo, and people is now an integral part of ALERT's daily operations.
Upon completing her 9-month Medium Endurance Cutter Maintenance Extension Project (MEP) in Baltimore, Maryland, in December 2009, ALERT began executing her missions with pride and professionalism once again. Since her reengagement, she has been deployed for a total of 816 days and has sailed more than 126,000 nautical miles. In the aftermath of a tragic earthquake in Haiti in early 2010, ALERT became the Surface Action Group Commander. That same summer, she was the first 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter to deploy to U.S. Coast Guard District Seventeen and the Bering Sea in over a decade; during the patrol, she safely conducted 37 at-sea boardings. Furthermore, in 2014, ALERT was selected to participate in Operation Green Flash, an operation that combines the capabilities of the Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, Customs and Border Protection, state and local law enforcement, and agencies of the Mexican government to enhance maritime awareness and responsiveness, thereby improving effectiveness in halting illegal drug trafficking and migrant interdiction. On her most recent patrols, she conducted operations in the eastern Pacific Ocean under Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) South, effectively interdicting 12 Go-Fast Vessels, detaining 42 narcotics smugglers, and seizing or disrupting more than 1.8 tons of cocaine valuing over $76 million in street-value.
ALERT remains highly active in public affairs, taking part in the Portland Rose Festival, Canadian Fleet Week, and serving as the flag ship for the 2014 Astoria Regatta. During these events she represented the Coast Guard to thousands of visitors from around the country. In addition, the Astoria community greatly values her continued participation in the Adopt-a-Ship program, Partnership in Education program, and local food and clothing drives.