The Seattle Harbor Patrol – From 1877 To The Present

Seattle Harbor Patrol

Seattle Harbor Patrol – A patrol boat from the early years

The Seattle Harbor Patrol traces it’s ancestory back to 1877 when the Harbor Department was established.  It was ran by the Port Warden an elected official.

In 1912 they had one boat.

This is a nice video tracing the history of the Harbor Patrol from 1877 to the present, it is just over eight minutes and is a nice watch.

Thanks GaRRy for the link.

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The View From The Fremont Drawbridge Tower – The Bridge Operators Perspective

View from the Bridge Tender Tower on the Fremont Bridge as the Duck Dodge herd head toward the first evening opening

View from the Bridge Operator Tower on the Fremont Bridge as the Duck Dodge herd head toward the first evening opening

Recently I had a chance to visit the Bridge Operator Tower on the Fremont Bridge and talk with some operators about the challenges they face daily balancing the needs of vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists and vessels (both recreational and commercial).  I was also able to observe the Fremont Bridge in operation and see first hand some of the many daily challenges faced by the Bridge Operators.

The Fremont Bridge is almost 100 years old having opened on June 17, 1917.  The Fremont Bridge is one of five bridges between the entrance to Shilshole Bay and Lake Washington.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and is a Seattle city Landmark.

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Beta test of crowdsourced bathymetry holds promise for improving U.S. nautical charts

This a big leap forward in helping to improve chart accuracy, Some charting software vendors will be adding the ability for boaters to enable the saving of GPS and depth information into a database – the data is anonymous with no boat specific identification information. But the data will be used to help find areas where the charted depth is not the same as what boaters are seeing, NOAA can then send a survey party out to survey the area and correct the chart.


We are on the verge of acquiring a significant new source of data to improve NOAA nautical charts, thanks to an enthusiastic industry and mariners equipped with new technology.

By Lt. Adam Reed, Integrated Oceans and Coastal Mapping (IOCM) Assistant Coordinator

The United States has about 3,400,000 square nautical miles of water within our coastal and Great Lakes jurisdiction. Coast Survey, who is responsible for charting that vast area, averages about 3,000 square nautical miles of hydrographic surveying each year. The data collected by those surveys update over a thousand NOAA charts. However, hydrographic surveys are expensive and laborious, and so Coast Survey directs them toward the highest priority sites, which leaves many coastal areas without updates for many years.

Coast Survey may soon get new sources of information, provided voluntarily by mariners, which will alert cartographers to areas where shoaling and other changes to the seafloor have made the chart inaccurate.


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Video: How to Launch a Sailboat Like a Boss

Launch Like A Boss, The quick and cool way to get your sailboat into the water.

Launch Like A Boss, The quick and cool way to get your sailboat into the water.

This has to be one of the best how to launch a sailboat videos around, no big errors just the coolest quickest and smoothest launch ever.

This video was made for AV-OG-TIL, a Norwegian NGO, working to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol. The aim is to raise awareness around the dangers of intoxication while operating a boat.

Launching is an art form best practiced sober.

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Dead Tired – Tips For Preventing and Dealing With Fatigue On The Water

Mariner Fatigue by Lou Vest (Click HERE to read the story behind the photo)

Mariner Fatigue by Lou Vest (Click Here to read the story behind the photo)

Tired, lack of sleep and environmental stress factors (sun, heat, cold, vessel movement) are often overlooked by recreational boaters as well as professional mariners and this can contribute to accidents on the water.

A person who has been awake for 17 hours faces the same risk of a crash as a person who has a BAC reading of 0.05 g/100ml and those who are awake for 24 hours will have a driving performance similar to a person who has a BAC of 0.1 g/100ml. – Adelaide Centre for Sleep Research

If being tired is equivalent to being drunk – why does shipping culture equate working hard with not resting?

With all of the studies that have been done on fatigue in the past 80 years, it would make sense to have a consensus about how much rest is necessary to avoid it being a contributory factor in accidents. The only result that is seen time and time again is that fatigue can be catastrophic.

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Be sure to get the latest nautical charts!

A very nice concise overview of NOAA Chart products, printed, electronic and free PDF downloads.

Remember if you use electronic navigation systems (GPS Chart Plotters) to check which NOAA products if any are supported by your unit or the unit you are thinking of buying, some will use the NOAA electronic charts directly.


Hope springs eternal. Or maybe, given the cold and dreary May (at least on the East Coast), the adage should be re-phrased a bit, as we have “eternal hopes for spring.” In any case, boaters still have time to get their updated charts as boating season starts in earnest.

Coast Survey is constantly improving the nation’s nautical charts, giving customers a greater range of products and services. Which products work best for you?

If you use a paper chart, you have a couple of options.

Using a paper chart Paper nautical charts are the original risk management tools at sea. Photo credit: Tim Osborn, NOAA

For official NOAA charts, updated to the time they are printed “on-demand,” you should check out the list of 19 NOAA-certified printers. To ensure the integrity, authenticity, and responsiveness of NOAA chart distributors, NOAA certifies these agents to sell official up-to-date NOAA charts. (NOTE: NOAA will revoke distributor status…

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Olympic Coast survey provides data for multiple uses

Resource surveys are not new to NOAA

NOAA has been doing resource surveys since the 1800’s. Some of the surveys from the 1800’s are now being used to help rehabilitate oyster beds using the original surveys showing where oysters used to live before we messed up the resource.


Coastal planners, fishery managers, and oceanographic researchers will soon reap important seafloor and water column data from the coast of Washington, when NOAA Ship Rainier undertakes a special project in the waters within and near the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary in May.

Map of IOCM projects Olympic Coast NMS The blue lines indicate NOAA Ship Rainier’s survey project areas. From north to south, the project encompasses Juan De Fuca Canyon (65 square nautical miles), Quinault Canyon (378 square nautical miles), and Willapa Canyon (189 square nautical miles). The teal dots in Quinault and Willapa canyons are the locations of deep underwater natural methane gas seeps being investigated in a University of Washington research project. The green shaded area is the extent of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.

The project, which is being managed by NOAA’s Integrated Ocean and Coast Mapping program, grew from NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science seafloor mapping prioritization exercise

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Proper Bridge Opening Signals and Conch Shell Horns

The Conch Shell and the Air Horn

The Conch Shell and the Air Horn

Sometimes boaters have trouble getting a bridge to open for them, there are several reasons why a bridge might not lift as soon as you sound your horn.

The email below is from a Seattle Bridge Operator and was forwarded to me with a request that the boating public be made aware of problems that Bridge Operators have hearing the sound signal requesting the bridge to be opened.

The email speaks for itself.

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