Office of Coast Survey News

Office of Coast Survey News

Your source for hydrographic products and services

 August 2010


In this issue
Coast Survey ready for hurricane recovery
Fairweather surveys the Bering Straits
Coast Survey updates hydrographic survey priorities
Scientific information and technical innovations are coming fast and furious. Need to access NOAA’s nowCOAST on your iPOD? Done. Need to see a nautical chart with the three-day trajectory for the BP Deepwater oil spill? Done. Want to collaborate with NOAA in projects to improve coastal modeling? We have the information you need.

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey surveys the seafloor, produces the nation’s nautical charts, mobilizes after hurricanes to speed the re-opening of ports, responds to maritime emergencies, and develops hydrographic models that helps us understand coastal environments.

You know the importance of hydrographic tools and information. As I write this, we have late breaking news that demonstrates how NOAA’s survey expertise and technologies make vital contributions in real life situations. See this weekend’s report about NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson’s rescue of a downed pilot.

As your source for information about our navigation and coastal spatial data, services, and products, I hope this newsletter will bring you the information you need. Let us know what you think of this inaugural issue of Coast Survey News. Send your thoughts and suggestions to

John Lowell, Captain (NOAA)
Director, Office of Coast Survey
Coast Survey is ready for hurricane recovery 
The Office of Coast Survey is ready with storm response and post-storm recovery plans as the nation enters the height of the 2010 hurricane season.
Navigation managers are contacting each Gulf Coast port to review the ports’ priorities for Coast Survey’s post-storm response, to ensure that the six navigation response teams are fully prepared to conduct hydrographic surveys to help reopen ports and waterways of the Gulf. 
Ten of the 15 largest ports in the nation (ranked by cargo volume) are found along the Gulf. Efficient operations of these vital gateways for U.S. exports to world markets are necessary to a healthy U.S. economy.
Read more about Coast Survey preparations for hurricane recovery.

NOAA Ship Fairweather surveys the Bering Straits  
As Arctic ice recedes, countries are looking forward to faster, safer and more efficient sea routes across the top of the world.
Responding to a request from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, Alaska Marine Pilots and the commercial shipping industry, Coast Survey sent one of NOAA’s premier surveying vessels, NOAA Ship Fairweather, to detect navigational dangers in critical Arctic waters that have not been charted for more than 50 years.
Read more about this new multi-year effort to update charts of priority Arctic regions.

Coast Survey updates hydrograhic survey priorities
Waterborne cargo contributes more than $742 billion to the U.S. economy, and creates employment for more than 13 million people. To keep the marine transportation system functioning efficiently and safely, NOAA annually prioritizes areas that need hydrographic surveys. The Office of Coast Survey recently released the 2010 edition of the NOAA Hydrographic Survey Priorities. .
NOAA prioritizes areas in need of surveying in order to maximize limited resources. In the 1990s, the agency examined the 3.4 million square nautical miles (SNM) of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for navigational significance, and determined that approximately 500,000 SNM of the EEZ are navigationally significant. Of those significant areas, NOAA identified approximately 43,000 SNM as critical areas. These areas are primarily coastal shipping lanes and approaches to major U.S. ports.
Read more about the current hydrographic needs of the U.S.

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