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


May 8, 2019

Good Morning Coast Surveyors,

How y'all doin? I am Kyle Ward, the southeast navigation manager located in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. I have been the southeast navigation manager covering North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and northeast Florida for the past eight years. I began my career in Coast Survey in Silver Spring where I spent over seven years planning hydro surveys and helping out on other GIS projects. Back then I, as you may now, often wondered what navigation managers do now.

As a navigation manager, I try to be the voice of our customers. This happens as navigation managers meet with our customers, understand their needs, and work with different offices in Coast Survey and the National Ocean Service to provide the products and services they request. One great example that has touched many parts of Coast Survey is the work we are doing to support the Port of Jacksonville deepening from 42 to 47 feet.

In 2015, funding for the deepening was secured. Working with pilots, we realized there were many offshore shoals that should be surveyed to ensure the new larger ships visiting the harbor could do so safely. In 2017, the Hydrographic Surveys Division had the NOAA Ship Ferdinand R. Hassler conducted a survey of the approaches to Jacksonville. The surveys identified many shoals at about 50-feet or less which would not provide adequate underkeel clearance for these vessels. The results of the survey have prompted meetings with many partners including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), JaxPort, and the pilots. I worked with the pilots to design a new approach route that would be safe for mariners and require the least amount of dredging. The port will pay the USACE to dredge the high spots in the approach we identified. When the USACE completes this work, I will help facilitate the charting of new channel by the Marine Chart Division. Additional work will need to be done with the U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA Fisheries to remove charted fish havens and modify the Right Whale recommended routes so vessels are lined up with the new fairway as they make their approach.

Working with our customers on a daily basis I can tell you Coast Survey is respected for the professionalism and accuracy of the work we do. I feel it is a privileged to help represent all of you and your hard work to our customers.

Kyle Ward
Southeast Navigation Manager