Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/528099
22 Proceedings Summer 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings make life in the wheelhouse easier, but as electronic tools become more prevalent, it is imperative that they supple- ment, not replace, the skills and instincts that mariners can only obtain through years of experience. Mariners will still need to look out the window at physical aids to navigation (ATON) and approaching vessels, even as they have more electronic tools at their disposal. This focus on safety and support for the mariner should also guide decisions about replacement or continued physi- cal aids to navigation maintenance. Through the U.S. Coast Guard/American Waterways Operators (AWO) Safety Partnership, we have established a Western Rivers Aids to Navigation Effciency Quality Action Team that began work in late 2013 and is expected to continue in 2015, which has stimulated constructive conversations on safe navigation and improving inland waters' ATON design and effciency. Feedback from towing vessel and port captains has revealed that from the perspective of the nation's inland mariners, physical aids to navigation, especially buoys, are still needed on the inland rivers; shore side ATONs are less of a priority since the introduction of electronic navigation tools; and that specifc changes in ATON use should be addressed at the local level with mariners and Coast Guard personnel. Ofshore Wind's Impact on Navigational Safety Emerging technologies and the march toward U.S. energy independence are creating greater competition for space in the nation's coastal and marine environments. For example, multiple offshore wind energy areas (WEAs) have been pro- posed or are in the initial stages of planning up and down the Atlantic coast. As stakeholders consider multiple uses for these coastal waterways, navigation safety must remain paramount. If WEAs are not properly sited outside of traditional shipping lanes, they could eliminate critical near-shore navigation corridors and force vessels to transit further offshore where inclement weather can make navigation less safe. AWO supports developing offshore wind energy projects in the United States, but certainty, trans- parency, and robust dialogue between government agencies and private sector stakeholders from the earliest days of the leasing process are critical to long-term success. AWO has been actively involved in developing the Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study (a comprehensive analysis of the naviga- tional impact that offshore wind projects will have on maritime safety on the East Coast). This kind of ongoing analysis will establish a strong founda- tion for successful wind energy area siting on the Atlantic coast. Additionally, the country's robust agricultural industry that reaches markets throughout the global economy, the boom- ing natural gas sector that is powering the revival of manu- facturing jobs, and the surge in domestic petroleum produc- tion that is leading the way to energy independence — all of these emerging economic trends will lead to an increased reliance upon waterway transportation. We must ensure that our marine transportation system has the capacity and the resilience to meet these growing demands. America's waterways already transport 60 per- cent of the nation's grain exports, about 22 percent of domes- tic petroleum and petroleum products, and 20 percent of the coal used in electricity generation. 3 The incredible potential of an increased reliance on water transportation to move more of the nation's essential cargo in the future under- scores the indispensable role the marine industry already plays in moving the nation's domestic commerce. Advancing Safety and Delivering Value Technological innovations, competing uses, an evolving safety climate, and an aging infrastructure are among the many emerging challenges that must be overcome to ensure a robust, safe, effcient water transportation network. Also at the core of the industry's mission is delivering value — to the American economy, to U.S. national and homeland security, and to the shippers and customers who rely upon waterway transportation to keep their businesses vital. Electronic Navigation Tools Navigation is evolving rapidly with a greater reliance on electronic charting and the Automatic Identifcation System to safely traverse a route. Electronic aids to navigation will also be increasingly important. These tools are meant to State-of-the-art technology: A student trains on one of the Seamen's Church Institute's simulators, which are designed and equipped to look and feel like the pilothouse of a towboat. Courtesy of Seamen's Church Institute.