So you want to chart an artificial reef?


A nice explanation on how NOAA, The Army Corps of Engineers and others work together to improve fish habitat while keeping the waters safe for boaters and freighters.

Originally posted on NOAA COAST SURVEY:

There are literally millions of pieces of data on nautical charts. How do cartographers determine which data to put on the charts? Two Coast Survey cartographers, Paul Gionis and Lance Roddy, explained some of the processes, protocols, and NOAA charting requirements to participants at the Florida Artificial Reef Summit earlier this month. (See the archived video of their presentation, starting at 55:40.) Among their many duties, these cartographers are responsible for vetting artificial reef public notices and permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and for acquiring source data from the state and county reef coordinators.

By explaining the nautical chart aspects of planning, creating, and maintaining fish havens, they hoped to smooth out the permitting and charting phases.

(By the way, in case you’re wondering what we mean by “fish haven,” Coast Survey’s Nautical Chart Manual defines them as “artificial shelters constructed of rocks, rubble, boxcars, boats, concrete, special…

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Free 2015 Coast Guard Light List

2015 Light List Cover

2015 Light List Cover

The U.S. Coast Guard has just released the 2015 Light Lists in PDF format for all volumes except Volume V (Volume V is only published in even years).  The Light List Volumes are available as a free download or in bound books for purchase at your local marine and charting supplier.

Light List Volume VI covers Puget Sound as well as Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and the outlying Pacific Islands.  For those boating in the Puget Sound area the other areas covered can make for a very thick volume.

A boater can print just the pages needed for their area to save on ink and paper.  Caution is advised to not try and fine tune the exact pages too close as the Light List Lights are arranged by Chart Number and it is very easy to miss one of the chart numbers needed for your area.

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New ACR Firefly Pro Series Rescue Strobe Light

ACR Rescue Lite 4F & New ACR Firefly PRO Series

ACR Rescue Lite 4F & New ACR Firefly PRO Series

ACR has finally came out with a worthy successor to the classic Firefly Rescue Lite ACR / 4F.  The ACR Firefly PRO Series is Brighter, flashes longer and has more functions (Strobe, Flashlight, SOS) than the 4F model.  I found the ACR Firefly PRO Series at Fish Expo in Seattle and was quite impressed with the new Strobe Light.  So impressed that I bought one for myself.

The strobes that came after the Classic 4F just did not seem as bright, and looking at other manufactures offerings they did not seem as bright either, which left me disappointed, over the years when I needed to buy new strobes for additional life-jackets.  The Classic 4F originally had an expensive mercury battery, I changed the battery to a non-mercury battery to keep the 4F working and the 4F remained my favorite and attached to the life-jacket that I wore the most.

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Why Whale Poo & Dead Whales Are Good For You & The Oceans

Dead Whale in the Ocean

Dead Whale in the Ocean

Left out of many discussions about whales and other animals is the effect they have on the health of the ecosystem and how we are all dependent on each other.

Wolves in Yellowstone give healthier forests.  Streams that have hatchery fish released are healthier when dead salmon are put on stream banks in the fall.

We are only just starting to understand some of the complex interdependency of plants and animals and how reducing the population of one can have far reaching effects on other plants and animals.

This short video explains what our hunting of whales to near extinction has had on the health of the oceans.

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2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

A note on the where traffic comes from – most of the traffic here comes from search engines, several times the listed referrals.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 120,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Coast Survey’s little known role in the case of the Amistad


A bit of hidden history from the NOAA Archives

Originally posted on NOAA COAST SURVEY:

Lt. Thomas R. Gedney, a U.S. Navy officer commanding the U.S. Coast Survey Brig Washington on August 20, 1839, was surveying the area between New York’s Montauk Point and Gardiner’s Island. He “discovered a strange and suspicious looking vessel off Culloden Point, near said Montauk Point,” according to his statement to Connecticut District Court Judge Andrew T. Judson. Gedney and his officers took possession of the vessel. The ship captured by the Washington proved to be the Spanish schooner called L’Amistad – the ship carrying Africans who revolted against their captors and tried to sail back to Africa… Thus began a little known piece of U.S. Coast Survey history. (It is so little known, in fact, that the 1997 movie Amistad did not mention Coast Survey.)

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is presenting a new exhibit of six murals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American…

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New Feet for the Knot Boards


Knot boards being used in a boating class, showing the new feet holding up the knot boards.

These low-cost simple Do It Yourself feet make class aides like Knot Boards or other displays stand up for students in class or at public events.

A standup display is easier for students to use and for those passing by a booth at a public event to see and draw their attention to your booth.

Using these feet displays can be made of any 1/4 inch thick material that is the proper size.  No need to buy special displays with built-in stands.

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NOAA Ship Rainier surveying the waters off Washington


If you have been wondering what the NOAA Ship Rainier has been doing driving back and forth like a burglar casing the neighborhood around Protection Island and Lopez Island, Washington.

They are part of a project to completely update the nautical charts of the waters from Port Angeles to Port Townsend and north to Bellingham, including the San Juan Islands.

Originally posted on NOAA COAST SURVEY:

A NOAA ship plying the waters off the coast often inspires public curiosity. This is especially true when boaters and others see the ship or her launches just go back and forth, back and forth, all day. It’s not a surprise, then, that NOAA Ship Rainier’s latest project is generating questions from the areas around Protection Island and Lopez Island, Washington.

Don’t worry, there is no problem! NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is collecting bathymetric data to update nautical charts that are currently displaying depth measurements acquired from surveys conducted from 1940 to 1969. Survey vessels go back and forth, in a maneuver that is similar to mowing the lawn, as they use multibeam echo sounders to measure the depths and to “see” the ocean floor. If any of the vessels discover a danger to navigation – an uncharted wreck or other obstruction, for instance – Coast Survey will immediately inform…

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