In preparation for the M/V TERN’s anticipated arrival this week in San Francisco Bay, the Coast Guard and Port of San Francisco asked Coast Survey for a bathymetric survey of the proposed anchorage site. TERN is a semi-submersible vessel with a 60-foot draft, and the proposed anchorage site has charted depths of 62 feet and 63 feet ‒ leaving no room for error, to say the least. The question was whether there are any spots shoaler than 62 feet.
Port officials around the country know they can rely on the expert advice of Coast Survey’s navigation managers, cartographic experts, and hydrographers as the ports plan the essential improvements necessary for a thriving maritime economy. One example of Coast Survey assistance is in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, where port officials have determined that the volume and density of vessels have reached a level that requires one or more offshore anchorage areas. Sending vessels to a designated anchorage reduces the population in port and provides a safe area for vessels to power down their engines (rather than hold in place offshore in dynamic positioning mode), which would improve both safety and efficiency in the area known as the “Gulf’s Energy Connection.”
Over the past few decades, mariners have witnessed the rapid development, reliability, and availability of e-navigation components, such as the global positioning system (GPS) and electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS). These systems, and other technology, have fundamentally changed mariners’ reliance on traditional navigation services. In addition, the ability to manage data and information provided to the mariner through the automatic identification system (AIS) and cellular service has enhanced the interconnectivity between shore side information providers and shipboard users. These technological advances and data flow will help the mariner receive data, transmit data, and generally improve bridge resource management, situational awareness, and navigational safety.
Coast Survey’s navigation response teams, which are 3-person hydrographic survey teams on small boats, have made a fast start on this year’s survey season.
In Florida, where Coast Survey is preparing to issue a “new and improved” Miami Harbor Chart 11468 to alleviate vessel congestion at the Port of Miami, a navigation response team finished final hydrographic surveys to ensure the new chart has the latest and most accurate depth measurements around several areas identified as critical within the port. In just ten days, team members Erik Anderson, James Kirkpatrick, and Kurt Brown acquired, processed, and submitted the multibeam survey data covering 64 nautical miles.
Vessel operators transiting St. Mary’s River, between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes, have a new nautical chart to help lessen the dangers inherent in this narrow and complicated waterway. The first edition of Chart 14887 (St. Marys River – Vicinity of Neebish Island) is available this week as a paper print-on-demand chart, PDF, and raster navigational chart. The electronic navigational chart will be available by March, in time for the beginning of the shipping season. (UPDATE, 2/12/14: NOAA ENC US5MI50 is now available.)
Coast Survey has built the chart from original sources, providing the highest standard of accuracy for hydrographical and topographical features and aids to navigation. The chart provides large-scale (1:15,000) coverage of the up bound and down bound channels of the St. Mary’s River – one of the busiest waterways in the nation. Over 4,100 transits of commercial and government vessels move about 75 million tons of cargo through the 300-day shipping season.
NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard recently released the Cooperative Maritime Strategy developed by the two agencies. The introduction to the document, signed by Admiral Papp and Dr. Lubchenco, is a stirring testament to our shared legacy and commitment. We reprint that introduction here.
25 February 2013
We are pleased to promulgate our Nation’s first-ever Cooperative Maritime Strategy between the United States Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For over 200 years, our Services have stood in partnership on maritime resilience, environmental sustainability, and scientific research. Indeed, America is a maritime nation, and the oceans, coasts, rivers and Great Lakes are the lifeblood of our economy. The maritime commons promote economic growth, advance technology, and challenge the human spirit. Our Services share a legacy and are committed to a future that honors our responsibilities as stewards of the oceans.
They’ve set up a unique online site to facilitate the conversation, and they invite anyone with an interest in the U.S. marine transportation system to join the discussion. (Deadline for comments is February 28.) For background, you might want to read the committee’s e-Navigation Strategic Action Plan.
As defined by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), e-navigation is “the harmonized collection, integration, exchange, presentation, and analysis of maritime information onboard and ashore by electronic means to enhance berth-to-berth navigation and related services for safety and security at sea and protection of the marine environment.”