CLEVELAND — U.S. Coast Guard stations that watch over the Great Lakes say they're seeing a huge jump in fake distress calls.
The Coast Guard says more than 160 hoax calls have been made across the Great Lakes so far this year. That's nearly triple the number they had at this time last year.
Capt. Joseph McGilley of the Coast Guard's Cleveland-based Great Lakes unit says hoax calls put boaters at risk because they can divert search and rescue responders during real emergencies.
People making fake distress calls that come in by phone and marine radio can face up to six years in prison and $250,000 in fines.