Office of Coast Survey
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

March 28, 2018

Hello Coast Survey,

Last week I had the honor of joining Rear Adm. Nancy Hann, deputy director, Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, as we recognized NOAA ships Fairweather and Rainier on 50 years of service and survey in Newport, Oregon. Most importantly, we celebrated the dedicated professional mariners, hydrographers, and commissioned officers that worked on board these ships the last 50 years.

Keeping a ship operable for 50 years is no small feat. The passion, dedication, and craftsmanship of generations of engineers and deck force have kept their physical aging at bay while the efforts of the survey technicians and officers have advanced the hydrographic technology, data collection processes, and operational excellence on board.

I began my NOAA career as a junior officer on board Rainier in 1993. Although technology has changed with regard to surveying, the surroundings remain much the same. These are the last of a generation of truly beautiful ships. Marine Operations Center – Pacific welcomed over 400 members of the public to see these beautiful ships, from eager kids and curious Newport residents to mariners that once sailed on board these vessels.

I would like to thank the commanding officers of Fairweather and Rainier, Cmdr. Mark Van Waes and Cmdr. Ben Evans, respectively, for spearheading this recognition effort. Putting on a ceremony and public event takes months of planning and coordination. I would also like to acknowledge the event planning team, particularly Lt. j.g. Michelle Levano and Kristen Crossett for coordinating from the ships and headquarters. Finally, thank you to the junior officers and professional mariners of both ships that stepped up to assist with logistics and public tours.

Rear Admiral Shepard M. Smith
Rear Admiral Shepard M. Smith
Director, Office of Coast Survey

Past and present crew of NOAA ships Rainier and Fairweather.