The 2014 hydrographic survey season is underway, with the NOAA fleet beginning its projects for this year.
Have you ever wondered how Coast Survey goes about determining where to survey and when? Several considerations go into prioritizing survey plans, which are laid out several years in advance. Coast Survey asks specific questions about each potential survey area.
Is it considered a critical area? If so, how old are the most current survey data?
Have local pilots or port authorities submitted reports of shoaling, obstructions or other concerns?
Does the U.S. Coast Guard or other stakeholders from the maritime community (e.g., fisheries, energy, pipelines) need surveys for economic development or ecological protection?
Coast Survey’s 2014 projects reflect these priorities.
Have you ever wondered what lies beneath the charted soundings on a nautical chart? While surveying Alaskan waters during the 2013 hydrographic field season, collecting bathymetry to update NOAA’s nautical charts, hydrographers revealed many interesting geologic features on the seafloor.
NOAA focuses a significant portion of our ocean mapping effort along the Alaskan coast. The Alaskan coastline represents over 50% of the United States coastline and dated nautical charts are inadequate for the increasing vessel traffic in this region. NOAA surveys are essential for providing reliable charts to the area’s commercial shippers, passenger vessels, and fishing fleets.
This past season, NOAA-funded hydrographic surveys in Alaska revealed many interesting geological features on the seafloor. Three surveys, in particular, took place in southeastern Alaska in the Behm Canal, along the Aleutian Chain within the coastal waters surrounding Akutan Island, and around Chirikof Island.
As our newest survey vessel, NOAA Ship Ferdinand Hassler, prepares for a long survey career, the crew is taking her through final repairs, upgrades, training, and inspection this spring. If all goes well, Hassler will then survey approaches to Chesapeake Bay in July, before heading to her new homeport in New Castle, New Hampshire. Once there, Hassler plans to survey approaches to New Hampshire and conduct some tests and evaluations of a new autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for surveying.