The Coast Guard has decided that firing tracer rounds into the water from an M16 rifle is not the best way to do non-lethal signaling and warning. Bullets can go astray and there is always a risk of injuring the people you are trying to warn. Instead, the Coast Guard is using a non-lethel round fired from a shotgun that produces flash and noise and garners the attention of everyone in the neighborhood. Maybe the best thing, though, is to pay attention to your radio and communicate when the Coast Guard wants some information or action from you. That way they won't have to shoot at you!
From the press release: The Coast Guard is implementing the use of a non-lethal signaling and warning device to support the service’s ports waterways and coastal security mission in Hawaii.
The LA51 signal and warning device is a fired from a 12-gauge military shotgun to produce a visible signal at a range of 100 meters. Training will be conducted in a designated firing range approximately 50 miles north of Oahu.
The LA51 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.
The Coast Guard has been using the LA51 as a warning signal during alien migrant interdiction operations and counter-drug operations. The LA51 warning device will now be used during security zone enforcement and the execution of the ports waterways and coastal security mission.