A monumental history

Interesting history of sea floor charting

On September 15, 2016, President Obama designated the first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean. The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument includes two areas: one that includes four undersea mountains, called “seamounts” – Bear, Mytilus, Physalia, and Retriever; and an area that includes three undersea canyons – Oceanographer, Lydonia, and Gilbert – that cut deep into the continental shelf. These sea features have monumental histories.

Monuments map, by Leland Snyder, Office of Coast Survey Coast Survey cartographer Leland Snyder used several data sources to create this map of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.

Bear, Mytilus, and Physalia Seamounts were discovered by oceanographers with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and they were named for small Woods Hole vessels that began making forays into the deep sea in the 1950s. The Bureau of Geographical names does not know the origin of the name “Retriever Seamount,” but NOAA historian Skip Theberge thinks it was probably discovered and named…

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NOAA’s Secret Weather Sites


HADS Home page showing over 16,000 NOAA weather sites

Most sailors in the Seattle area are familiar with the West Point and Seattle NOAA weather sites on the internet. But did you know that those sites are only the tip of the iceberg so to speak of the over 16,000 NOAA weather observation sites. There is one at the Alki Lighthouse in West Seattle for example.

Finding the station closest to your location from the over 16,000 weather observation stations in the United States and Canada can be a bit of a challenge even if you have the secret handshake on where to start.  But lets give it a whirl.

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How Maritime Law Works- A Video Primer For Non-Lawyers

Maritime Law

Maritime Law

This is a short video on Maritime Law.  The video is a short overview of Maritime Law for non-lawyers.  It covers things like what country is a baby born a citizen of, short hint, in some cases the baby is a citizen of the country the ship they on is registered in!

Why the South China Sea is so confusing and difficult to fathom is also covered.

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Life Jackets Work!! But Only If You Wear It

Life-Jackets Float, You don't

Life-Jackets Float, You don’t

Last Saturday as we were putting out the fenders at the end of the sail, I heard a splash followed by a couple of expletive deleted words, a quick look around the boat indicated we were short one crew member.

One of the crew had dropped a fender overboard and dove in after it, well actually made a lunge for the dropped fender and slid out under the lifelines about mid-ship and into the water.

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Video: Four and a Half Minutes of French Lighthouses in Terrifying Storms

French Lighthouse in a Storm

French Lighthouse in a Storm

An amazing Four and a Half minute video showing the power and terror of the ocean and the lighthouses that stand to protect mariners.

The Lighthouses in the video are identified as being in the  Iroise Sea in Brittany on the West coast of France.  Wikipedia describes this area as one of the most dangerous seas in Europe.  Looking at the video I can understand why the area got it’s reputation for rough and dangerous.

Several years ago I traveled through the area on a 62 foot former Swedish Coast Guard Auxiliary Icebreaker Patrol boat (see Not a Sailing Trip ), I am quite glad that the weather was nicer and the seas much better than in the video.

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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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