Since 1803, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has stood as a sentinel over the windswept shores of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. With its distinctive stripes and storied history, it is the tallest lighthouse in the United States and one of the best known Aids to Navigation in the world. While the National Park Service owns the lighthouse, a Coast Guard aids to navigation team continues to maintain the lamp.
Across the nation, more than 48,000 Coast Guard aids to navigation, commonly known as ATON, mark every navigable waterway, identifying navigational hazards and ensuring mariner safety. But what happens when navigational aids are knocked off course by a natural disaster like a hurricane or flood?
As Craig acquires qualifications above his pay grade, he is entrusted with more responsibility from his supervisors while he waits for his opportunity to attend Marine Science Technician “A” school. With his positive and proactive attitude toward hard work, Craig’s future in the Coast Guard is bright.
From distant lights on the horizon to information at a navigator’s fingertips, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Aids to Navigation, ATON, systems have evolved over the years to keep up with technological advances and changing navigation requirements.
The technology has changed over the years but not the mission: to safeguard the Nation’s waterways and the ships, craft and personnel that ply those waters, maintaining the nation’s economy by supporting, guiding and protecting the most efficient form of transport we have – our Nation’s waterborne commercial vessels.
Wednesday’s week in the life of the Coast Guard 2014 features light work on the Chesapeake Bay, keeping helicopters clean in Kodiak, Alaska, a summer station patrol near Rhode Island, making sure they’re feed at Station Cape Disappointment and getting a dewatering pump to a boat in need far way.
Coast Guard Cutter Frank Drew is a 175-foot Keeper-class coastal buoy tender. First launched in 1999, the primary mission for the crew is servicing aids to navigation. Like other Coast Guard asset’s however, the crew has additional roles and responsibilities, including ice breaking, search and rescue and coastal security.
Ice season is here! To ensure the safety of vessels transiting the Great Lakes, crews from around the 9th Coast Guard District began their annual buoy retrieval, Operation Fall Retrieve. Operation Fall Retrieve, which affects lighted and unlighted buoys and beacons, commenced with a goal of retrieving 1,278 navigational aids. The operation, the largest domestic ATON recovery operation in the U.S., is scheduled to be complete in late December.
The rise and fall of river water levels is a constant, impacted by flooding and drought. It’s something those who work on or around the river contend with on a regular basis. This year, rivers throughout the Midwest region are experiencing record low water levels and natural relief through the winter may be minimal. As water levels drop, the channels in which ships and barges travel shrink in width and depth, creating difficulties for shipping commerce. The U.S. Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and shipping industries are working together to adapt to the pressure of keeping the Mississippi River open for commerce and the public.
The Coast Guard Cutter Greenbrier, homeported in Natchez, Miss., follows a star with strong leadership. This northern star guides the crew of the Greenbrier towards a safer tomorrow, and safe mission execution. Petty Officer 1st Class Eli North is the north star of the Greenbrier and has won the hearts of his crew in the one year he has spent as a deck supervisor.