Proceedings Of The Marine

SUM 2015

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.

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9 Summer 2015 Proceedings Design and Discrepancies Since waterway users come with a variety of skills, abilities, and vessel capabilities, our aids to navigation system must be usable, scalable, and available. Coast Guard personnel must also work to protect the envi- ronment and weigh the needs of all users — including recre- ational fshermen, towboat operators, and large commercial vessel masters and pilots — when making system changes. User comments are becoming increasingly vital to the Coast Guard's decision-making process with regard to aids to Since our nation's founding, professional mariners have relied on various aids to help navigate their vessels safely and effciently. Yachtsmen and weekend fshermen also rely on charted buoys or visual cues such as a light on the hori- zon to return home after a day's leisure. The nation receives a signifcant return on its aids to navi- gation investment, as, through its multi-tiered maintenance program that achieves a better than 95 percent aid availabil- ity rate, the Coast Guard's visual aids to navigation system supports more than $3.2 trillion dollars in commerce. 1 Visual Aids to Navigation Division Safer travels. by CDR Steven A. Wheeler Chief U.S. Coast Guard Visual Aids to Navigation Division Federal Agency Involvement Navigational Aids The U.S. visual aids to navigation system includes a constellation of lights, buoys, day beacons, and sound signals that, in concert with charts and other naviga- tional aids, help guide mariners safely and efficiently along 25,000 miles of American waterways. This system is currently comprised of more than 49,000 navigational aids, including: Buoys: These are foating devices that are moored to the sea foor by either concrete or metal sinkers. Tide and current changes will create a "watch circle" or area, relative to its charted position. Buoys are not fxed structures. Buoys with lateral signifcance mark the edges of a channel, whereas entrance buoys mark the seaward access to a waterway. Buoys can be either unlighted or lighted and display a rhy thmic fashing light signal. They can also have sound-producing devices like whistles or gongs for areas that often experience reduced visibility. Seasonal buoys are set in the spring and remain on station until fall, when they are removed due to impending ice that would otherwise damage or destroy them. Lights: These are fxed structures that provide a platform for a rhy thmic, fashing light signal. This includes range lights that mark the centerline of a channel, sector lights that change color based on the mariner's relationship to channel edges, and lighthouses. Most lights remain in place all year, with only a few being removed during periods of harsh weather to prevent damage. Day Beacons: These are unlighted fxed structures that display either a green/ red day board or other navigational information. Sound Signals: These provide naviga- tional information during periods of reduced visibility. They include sound- emitting devices on fxed structures and buoys.

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