Surveys to Update Long Island Coastal Charts

Posted: 09/08/2011 in all marine news

Hydro International –

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson is on a three-month survey of the seafloor off the coast of New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island, as part of a multi-year effort to update nautical charts for Block Island Sound and keep large ships and commerce moving safely. In addition to supporting marine navigation, data acquired by the 208-foot hydrographic survey vessel will also support a seafloor mapping initiative by Connecticut and New York.

Equipped with the latest scientific instrumentation for checking channel seafloors for shoaling and debris, Thomas Jefferson is also an emergency responder providing data needed for reopening ports after hurricanes. The ship was in place and prepared to help speed the resumption of maritime commerce after Hurricane Irene blew through the Port of New York & New Jersey last weekend, and she will be recalled from her normal surveying operations if needed to help with emergency surveys for any future storms.

“With bigger ships, crowded sea lanes, and more uses of ocean areas, shipping today is increasingly a task of precision and accuracy,” explained NOAA Corps Cmdr. Lawrence Krepp, commanding officer of Thomas Jefferson and the ship’s chief scientist. “This area is seeing an increase in the numbers of deep-draft vessels requiring depths of more than 60 feet, and the pilots need precise and up-to-date depth measurements as they navigate. Our task is to measure the ocean depths, search for dangers to navigation, and give mariners the information they need to protect lives and the environment, while also increasing shipping efficiencies.”

The survey project is managed by NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, which produces and maintains the nation’s suite of nautical charts. Coast Survey first charted the New York area in the mid-1800s, after President Thomas Jefferson tasked the agency with creating maps of the coastal waters so that the young nation’s shipping industry could thrive. Today’s data is increasingly valuable for other applications as well.

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