Coast Guard officials say new vessels undergoing sea trials in Key West will help the agency stop more smugglers.
Twelve new Coast Guard ships will be based between Key West and Miami in the coming months.
Lt. Cmdr. Christian Lee says that the new vessels are faster and more modern than the older cutters currently on patrol.
A 2004 effort to retrofit the older cutters failed as those ships developed structural problems.
The new ships are part of the Coast Guard's $1.5 billion program to update its fleet's imaging, sonar and communications systems to work with other law enforcement agencies.