NOAA announces launch of crowdsourced bathymetry database

Great way for NOAA to extend it’s reach and detect when an area needs to be resurveyed. Also for boaters to get the benefit of “local knowledge” about changes to the sea floor before you run aground on a new shallow area.

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

Today NOAA announces the end of a testing phase in the development of a new crowdsourced bathymetry database. Bathymetric observations and measurements from participants in citizen science and crowdsourced programs are now archived and made available to the public through the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry (DCDB) Data Viewer. The operationalized database allows free access to millions of ocean depth data points, and serves as a powerful source of information to improve navigational products.

The crowdsourced bathymetry database, displayed in the IHO Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry Data Viewer, has an updated user interface. The crowdsourced bathymetry database, displayed in the IHO Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry Data Viewer, has an updated user interface.

NOAA began database development in 2014 with the IHO Crowdsourced Bathymetry Working Group. The database is part of the IHO DCDB and is hosted at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), which offers access to archives…

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Posted in Boating Safety

NOAA releases documentary on women’s service in the NOAA Corps

Rear Adm. Harley Nygren (NOAA ret.) and Cmdr. Pam Chelgren-Koterba (NOAA ret.). Nygren was the first director of the NOAA Corps and penned entry for women to serve. Chelgren was the first woman to join the NOAA Corps in 1972, under Nygren’s leadership. (NOAA Image)

An interesting video by the NOAA Corps on the integrating of women onboard ships and airplanes starting in 1972 as told by many of the women that were there.

NOAA has it’s roots from 1807 when Thomas Jefferson called for The Survey of the Coast, NOAA has been proudly serving the country ever since.

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, NOAA announces the release of Women of the NOAA Corps: Reflections from Sea and Sky, a documentary that highlights the important role women play in the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps.

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Posted in Boating Safety, History

NOAA launches new Nautical Chart Catalog

Fewer clicks and easier for me to navigate, Shows all the charts for a given area (i.e. South Puget Sound shows all the current charts available with a button to click on for the options such as a PDF file or a Booklet Chart.

Easier for me to use, hats off to NOAA for a nice improvement. Thanks Much

With NOAA’s new Nautical Chart Catalog, users can readily access raster data and charting products in list format. The website serves as a complement to the Chart Locator by providing search capability for any of NOAA’s thousand plus nautical charts.


The catalog redesign simplifies the user experience by reducing the number of clicks it takes to access a product. Legacy website data has been consolidated into a single page which makes the searching process a more intuitive user experience. Responsive design has been implemented making the site both desktop and mobile friendly.

Additional searching and sorting functionality has been added to the new catalog to increase product accessibility. The redesign provides the ability for users to find and download NOAA RNC®, full-sized nautical charts in PDF format, BookletCharts™, notice to mariners chart corrections, a list of chart agents, and the ability to view online images of raster (paper) charts. A…

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Posted in Boating Safety

Repairing The Lower Boom Vang Mount

Failed lower Boom Vang Mount and mounting bolts

Last fall we were sailing along nicely on a medium wind day when we heard a loud bang, the bang got our attention but looking around we were not able to see anything wrong, shrouds and stays were fine and the rest of the rig also looked OK.

A few minutes later as we were still trying to figure out the first bang a second loud bang happened and the boom jumped up and we could see the Boom Vang hanging loose, mystery solved!

With no Boom Vang the trip back home was cautious, I probably could have rigged a temporary lower mount but the wind was not too bad and we were not far from home so we did not rig a temporary mount.

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Posted in Boat Maintenance, Boating Safety | Tagged

Avoiding The US Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Scam

US Coast Guard Vessel Documentation

There seems to be a bit of a scam going around with several companies offering to “help” you renew your USCG Vessel Documentation, the catch?  The help will cost you several times the normal cost $ 26.00  the US Coast Guard charges.  Some people in a sailing group I belong to have fallen for this scam.

The Vessel Documentation scam works in at least two ways,

1) You go  to the internet and search for something like “USCG Vessel Documentation” and click on one of the links that looks like a Vessel Documentation link, the bogus links look real official as do the web pages.  From there you are prompted to click on some links and enter your vessel information and pay some money.  The catch?  One of the sites I looked at wanted $ 76.00 for a single year, a nice $ 50.00 service fee.  The Coast Guard site is so so for search engines so the official US Coast Guard Vessel Documentation site was down toward the bottom of the first page for me, so you need to look and be careful or use the link posted below.

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Posted in Boating Safety | Tagged | 5 Comments

NOAA helps ports recover from Hurricane Harvey

I like it when NOAA & the USCG show that the Govt. can be responsive in times of distress and they were ready to go before landfall.

Hurricane Harvey is the first major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. Harvey strengthened to a Category 4 reaching landfall along the Texas coast on Friday, August 25, at peak intensity. By the next day, the storm weakened to a tropical storm bringing torrential rainfall to the region.

Before Harvey reached landfall, Coast Survey headquarters and field units were planning and positioning assets in strategic locations in proximity to the Texas coastline. Two navigation response teams—small vessels with three-person crews—were deployed and awaiting tasking for survey work prioritized by the U.S. Coast Guard, in coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ports, terminal operators, state officials, and local emergency responders. The western Gulf Coast navigation manager, Alan Bunn, was positioned at the Houston/Galveston Incident Command Center (ICC), to coordinate response efforts. The eastern Gulf Coast navigation manager, Tim Osborn, traveled from Lafayette, LA, and was positioned at…

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It wasn’t just Jefferson. Congress initiated Coast Survey legislation, approved #OTD 210 years ago

A bit on the birth of NOAA way before it was NOAA, seemed simpler back then, just survey a bit of coast. That was followed by surveying and setting points from coast to coast.

On this date in 1807, President Thomas Jefferson approved an act to provide for surveying the coasts of the United States. NOAA has long honored Jefferson — but what of the legislators who saw the need, wrote the bill, and sent it to the president?

On December 15, 1806, Samuel W. Dana (CT) introduced a resolution instructing the House of Representatives’ Committee of Commerce and Manufactures to “inquire into the expediency of making provision for a survey of the coasts of the United States, designating the several islands, with the shoals and roads, or places of anchorage, within twenty leagues of any part of the shores of the United States.” Dana was joined in debate by Jacob Crowninshield (MA-2), the chair of the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures.

Samuel Dana (left) represented Connecticut in Congress from 1797 to 1821. Jacob Crowninshield, of the famed American maritime family, chaired the House Committee on Commerce and Manufactures in the 9th Congress. Samuel Dana (left) represented Connecticut in Congress from 1797 to 1821. Jacob Crowninshield, of the famed American maritime family, chaired the House Committee on Commerce and…

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Book Review: A History of Sailing in 100 Objects

A History of Sailing in 100 Objects

A History of Sailing in 100 Objects

Have you ever wondered about the history of sailing equipment that we use every time we go sailing?

Well fear not, “A History of Sailing in 100 Objects” by Barry Pickthall will fill in some of the gaps, starting with the earliest known picture of a sail from about 3,500 BC on the Naqada II Pot to the GoPro camera in 2006.

Yes a bit eclectic in many ways but a nice read.  The book has the object explained with text on the left side and a picture of the object on the right side.  This bite size method makes the book easy to read and digest in short bits.

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