Emergency crews await yacht explosion victims at Sandy Hook Coast Guard station. (WNYW TV)

The U.S. Coast Guard is offering a reward for information about the person or people responsible for yesterday's false distress call about a boat explosion off the coast of Sandy Hook.

And they've just upped the ante.

The reward is now up to $3,000. If you have any information about the incident, you are encouraged to contact the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service at 646-872-5774 or 212-668-7048. You can remain anonymous.

This is a very serious matter. According to the Coast Guard, "Making a false distress call is a federal felony with a maximum penalty of five to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and reimbursement to the Coast Guard for the cost of performing the search."

Yesterday's incident garnered attention from several news outlets, including ours, with initial reports of 7-10 people injured and 21 passengers who had abandoned ship and boarded lifeboats some 17 miles off the coast.

After an extensive search by the Coast Guard and response from dozens of emergency response crews from around the area, including medevac choppers...it is now believed the whole thing was a hoax.

Know what's not a funny prank? THAT.

I'm sure the person or people responsible figured they would just have some fun at everyone's expense, but when you call emergency personnel out to a fake scene, you keep them away from real emergencies.

I hope the responsible party gets hit with the maximum penalty. I think every person who took the time to respond to yesterday's faux-mergency should be given 30 seconds with the perpetrator. With no cameras or people around.


What's the appropriate punishment for this hoax? Comment below!