Teams Prepared to Respond to Storms' Aftermath
Living through a hurricane can be dangerous. To mariners, port navigation after the hurricane can be just as deadly – or economically debilitating -- if debris and changes in the ocean floor go undetected. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey works with its government and private nautical partners to respond to the aftermath of hurricanes that hit America’s shores.
Even before the official June 1 start of hurricane season, OCS can move quickly. The agency’s six Navigation Response Teams (NRTs) are prepared to move into a coastal area after a storm moves out. The teams survey the ports and channels, searching for submerged vessels, pieces of oil rigs, structures swept out to sea, or any other wreckage that poses a danger to navigation. When hurricanes and strong storms make landfall they often bring stronger than normal ocean currents that can also shift navigational channels.
NRTs use small boats that are transported quickly over land and are pre-positioned to move into the affected coastal areas as soon as possible. Each three-person crew uses the latest technology to quickly assess storm damage, identify submerged hazards or obstructions, and work with their federal, state and local community partners to restore safe navigational access.
Coastal areas hit hard by hurricanes require this rapid investigation to keep maritime vessel traffic navigating safely. The nation’s economic welfare depends upon the Marine Transportation System, with ports and commercial vessel traffic contributing more than $1 trillion annually to the nation’s economy.