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
30 Proceedings Summer 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings "A key component of our strat- egy to manage, maintain, and modernize our navigation safety systems is to achieve the proper balance of visual and electronic navigation aids that best facili- tates the safe flow of commerce, at the best value to the taxpayer." —U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Joseph Servidio Possible Disadvantages Full utilization of some of the newer e-Navigation aids requires that the ves- sel operator divide attention between onboard electronics and maintaining a visual lookout to avoid collisions, allisions, and groundings. This type of "distraction" could potentially compromise sit- uational awareness and increase the likelihood of incidents. In principle, the potential for e-Navigation systems to dis- tract the operator is an issue for commercial as well as recreational boaters, but it is potentially more of an issue for recreational boaters who have less training and are more likely to be the sole operator. Additionally, e-Navigation systems can be spoofed or hacked, and technology can malfunction. So, dealing with compromised or faulty equipment may be additional forms of distraction. Design Factors The Coast Guard recognizes the potential for future e-Nav- igation systems to create distractions, and this factor will be considered in the design of the systems ultimately deployed. Fortunately, much useful research on distraction has been conducted, creating a literature database that can be tapped, 5 and more data will be developed as experience is gained from current initiatives. One way to limit the potential for distraction could be modeled on recently issued Department of Transportation voluntary guidelines that encourage automobile manufac- turers to limit the distraction risk connected to electronic devices built into their vehicles, such as communications, entertainment, and navigation devices. 6 At present, the Coast Guard also employs federal aids to navigation availability standards for various systems, including GPS and short-range aids and buoys. Addition- ally, the Coast Guard tracks actual performance, relative to The general perception among boaters with knowledge of possible future navigation systems, can fairly be character- ized as one of cautious optimism. These systems are likely to offer real benefts for some segments of the maritime trans- portation system, including recreational boaters. However, boaters have concerns with virtual buoys. So this substitu- tion, if widespread, might have a very different impact on recreational boaters — particularly those who can't afford or don't have enough space or power for the required equipment. Nautical Haves and Have Nots Most recreational watercraft are not as well equipped with onboard electronics as the commercial or military vessels that share the same waterways. A recreational vessel must be equipped with a GPS, a chart plotter, and a Class B AIS to effectively use e-Navigation. 4 Therefore, boaters who seek to take full advantage of future systems will have to purchase equipment. Depending upon the size of the display and other features, a marine chart- plotter can range from $400 to $1,000, and a Class B AIS transponder upwards of $500, so the total cost of this set of navigation instruments is not insignifcant. Moreover, many types of small recreational boats (such as personal water- craft, paddlecraft, skiffs, and small runabouts) do not have suffcient space to mount these devices, plus some may not have available power. If there were any substantial substi- tution of physical buoys by virtual buoys, how would these boaters navigate? Fortunately, the USCG is aware of these concerns and is committed to fnding the right mix of navigational assets to provide for safe navigation for all users in a cost-effective manner. Crewmembers stationed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Aspen recover a buoy. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ensign Anna Mueller.