New autonomous surface vehicles to deliver shoaler depth measurements for NOAA nautical charts

Lt. Joseph Carrier, operations officer on NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, deploys a Z-Boat from the ship. Photo Credit NOAA

Lt. Joseph Carrier, operations officer on NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, deploys a Z-Boat from the ship. Photo Credit NOAA

Great news from NOAA for anyone boating in shallow water.

If you look closely at any U.S. coastal nautical chart, you’ll likely find that the areas closest to the shore, shoals, and rocks do not have updated depth measurements. In many areas, safety concerns prohibit the use of NOAA ship or launches to survey the shoalest depths. In many areas, the water is too murky to be mapped with the airborne lidar systems used in clear waters. Now, however, charting those shallow areas is about to get safer, thanks to recent purchases of small, commercial off-the-shelf, unmanned survey vessels.

This summer, NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson will deploy a “Z-Boat,” offered by Teledyne Oceanscience out of Carlsbad, California.

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An Evening Sail on the America’s Cup Yacht America

Yacht America getting ready for an evening sail from the Bell Harbor Marina in Downtown Seattle

Yacht America getting ready for an evening sail from the Bell Harbor Marina in Downtown Seattle

Last week I took an evening sail in Seattle on the Yacht America, a replica of the boat that won the trophy that would become know as the America’s Cup.

The wind in Elliot Bay was nice with 8 to 10 knots at West Point, moving America smartly along at 8 to 9 knots on a bit of a reach over to Bainbridge Island and back, the water was flat for a very nice trip.

The weather was a bit chilly on the water and a few people did not bring coats, the crew of America were gracious hosts and got out spare blankets for the guests to wear.

As with many ships of this type the guests became the crew (the adventure, historic ambiance and team building I am told) when it was time to raise the sails, with a main mast of 105 feet and setting 5,900 square feet of sail in four sails, it takes a lot of work to raise the sails.  If the weather is right guests are invited to drive the boat if they want.  Several stepped up and got to drive the America under the watchful eye of Captain Troy.  The calm guidance of Captain Troy was great given the look of concentration or terror at times on the face of those that drove the boat.

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2014 Boating Accidents & How You Can Reduce Your Risk Of Having An Accident

Crewmembers aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium, from Coast Guard Station Charleston, S.C., approach an overturned boat, July 13, 2015, approximately 12 miles off the Charleston coast. The boat was found during a search for four overdue boaters who were later rescued by Station Charleston crews. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Crewmembers aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium, from Coast Guard Station Charleston, S.C., approach an overturned boat, July 13, 2015, approximately 12 miles off the Charleston coast. The boat was found during a search for four overdue boaters who were later rescued by Station Charleston crews. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Nobody wants to have a boating accident, here are my thoughts on how not to be a boating accident statistic, this is based on the U.S. Coast Guard’s study of 4,064 accidents in and compiled their 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics.

The steps to reduce your chances of having a boating accident are simple, have a sober driver, take a Boating Safety Class, pay attention to what is happening in and around the boat and a few more simple steps.

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What does the age of the survey mean for nautical charts?

captnmike:

From Sounding Poles to Side Scan Sonar, a nice history of depth measurements for marine charts & why some of the depths on your charts were last checked 100 years ago. And finding reliable data for the Arctic Ocean as it opens up for navigation.

And yes, NOAA still uses Lead Lines today for some depth measurments.

Originally posted on NOAA COAST SURVEY:

Alaska’s nautical charts need to be updated — we all know that. The diagram below shows the vintage of survey data currently used for today’s charts in Alaska. The graphic includes all surveys done by NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey (and its predecessors), and some limited data acquired by other agencies, i.e., the U.S. Coast Guard. Areas that are not colored in have never been surveyed or have data acquired by another source — from Russia or Japan, for instance — before the U.S. was responsible for charting in that area.

Vintage of Alaska survey

What are the differences between data collected in 1900, 1940, or 1960? Let’s take a look at a…

Brief Historical Sketch of Survey Technologies

Nautical charts have a lot of information, but mariners especially are concerned with two major components: water depths (known as “soundings”) and obstructions (like underwater seamounts or wrecks).

Different eras used different technologies to find, measure, and…

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Tips & Hints For Preventing or Dealing With Oil and Fuel Spills

Oil spill prevention kit

Free Small Oil Spill Prevention Kit Contents

Yes recreational boaters on average behave responsibly, but accidents do happen and nobody wants to see an oil spill gathering around their boat in the marina.   Small Oil Spill Kits are being given out free to help boaters keep the water clean and to raise awareness of the need to be always vigilant.

To help boaters prevent oil spills, Free Small Oil Spill Prevention Kits are being given out by the Washington Sea Grant Program, U. S. Coast Guard and the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The free Small Oil Spill Prevention Kits have a Bilge Sock to put in the bilge to soak up any oil or fuel spills that make it into the bilge.  There are also gloves and a trash bag and information on how to avoid a fuel or oil spill and what to do if you have a spill or see one.

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Dock Like A Boss – Humorous Anti-Drinking Video PSA

Why Docking Or Mooring Your Boat Should Be Done Sober

Why Docking Or Mooring Your Boat Should Be Done Sober

A humorous Video PSA on docking your boat, this guy makes putting your boat into it’s slip look so easy.

As they say in the Video “Docking is an art form best practiced sober”

The effects of alcohol can sneak up on a person due to the natural stresses of boating, such as noise, vibration, heat and the constant moving of the boat.  Those stresses can multiply the effects of alcohol.

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Relocating the 120 VAC Electrical Panel

marine boat Electrical Panel

New electrical panel in it’s enclosure mounted high on the hull in the aft port quarter

As part of the engine re-power I decided to relocate the 120 VAC Electrical Panel to give better access to the engine compartment since the original panel blocked engine maintenance access.

The boat originally came with a custom 120 VAC Electrical Panel located next to the engine compartment, the custom box also held the VHF Radio and Stereo.  The location of the VHF radio made the radio virtually useless unless someone was sitting below and the layout of my boat is not friendly to a remote speaker.

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The Power of the Ocean

The Power of the Oceans

The Power of the Oceans

The ocean bats last.  An incredible four minute clip showing just how powerful the ocean is. How they got some of the shots is beyond me.

The video is  from “Oceans” a documentary film by Jacques Perrin.

The video is distributed in the United States by Disney Nature.

They have also produced an Educators Guide in PDF format (3.5MB, 44 Pages),  Don’t let the title “Educators” fool you, an interesting guide for anyone interested in the ocean.

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