May 23, 2018
Greetings Coast Survey,
As we look to the start of the 2018 hurricane season, I am proud to say Coast Survey’s Navigation Services Division (NSD) is in a strong position to provide mission essential functions to the nation in the unfortunate event of a hurricane impact to U.S. ports or coastal communities.
Over the past year, we have grown our regionally-based Navigation Response Teams (NRT) from one fully operational boat to five. Last year, we hired and trained personnel as fast as we could, and were ready and able to mount a highly successful extended response effort. This year, all five NRTs will be operationally staffed and fully trained to support the hurricane season by mid-June.
We have also increased our response capacity with new equipment. The Navigation Response Branch now owns three man-portable autonomous surface vessels capable of conducting singlebeam/side scan sonar and multibeam surveys.The NRTs are currently working to operationalize these platforms in support of their standard survey operations and potentially for response operations. We are also in the process of procuring an additional mobile integrated survey team (MIST) kit to support multibeam survey operations from a vessel of opportunity.
As you may have seen in the most recent Coast Survey blog story, our regional navigation managers have been very active in preparing for this hurricane season with our regional federal and private partners. Many have taken part in hurricane response tabletop exercises and planning meetings. These activities strengthen relationships and enhance response efforts through clear lines of communication and collaborative action. Our Silver Spring staff also conducted tabletop exercises to be better prepared. With our personnel, training, and equipment, I am confident to say Coast Survey is exceptionally prepared and ready to serve the nation in the event we have another very active hurricane season.
The only question that remains is, are you and your family ready? If you don’t have an emergency plan already in place now is the time to put one together. Information on family emergency plans can be found at the WMFO website.
Be prepared and stay safe this hurricane season.Capt. Crocker