Ensuring Access and Public Safety
Many people in Hawaii and Southern California use and depend on the coast and ocean for commercial and recreational purposes. The ocean areas within the Hawaii Range Complex, for example, are used for a variety of commercial and recreational activities, such as boat charters and tours, canoe paddling, surfing, fishing, and diving. The ocean and nearshore areas are also used for subsistence fishing by local residents. The ocean areas within the Southern California Range Complex are popular for commercial and sport fishing, diving, and other recreational activities of social and economic importance. These industries support large numbers of fishermen, boat operators, and recreational boaters. The ocean areas of both range complexes also support other important activities related to shipping, scientific, cultural, and institutional functions.
Navy personnel share the ocean and coastal areas with the community and recognize the importance of public access. The Navy strives to be a good neighbor by maintaining access to public areas whenever possible while ensuring safety at all times. Some access restrictions must occur, however, for public safety. The Navy has designated operating areas, warning areas, and restricted areas for both airspace and marine waters to indicate where and when it may not be safe for recreational and commercial activities to take place.
Public Safety Measures
The safety of military personnel and the public is of utmost importance. The Navy observes every precaution when planning and conducting training and testing activities. Some precautionary measures in place include:
- Ensuring impact areas and targets are unpopulated prior to potentially dangerous activities
- Canceling or delaying activities if public or personnel safety is a concern
- Notifying the public of the location, date, and time of potentially dangerous activities
- Implementing temporary access restrictions to training and testing areas
These measures are intended to ensure public safety during scheduled Navy training and testing activities. These measures, along with the cooperation of the public and commercial and recreational users of the air and sea spaces, enable safe training and testing. The Navy publishes notices to mariners with location, activity, and duration information. Mariners are requested to read and adhere to the published notices.
Thorough environmental and safety reviews are conducted for all test systems. Prior to going into the water, most systems go through land-based testing, and many have been tested in smaller fresh water areas or tanks. After an initial review, modifications are made, as needed, to minimize the potential impacts on public safety and the natural environment.