The U.S. Coast Guard was recognized by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) for its use of electronic Aids to Navigation (eATON) during the 2017 hurricane season.
The members of the international technical association selected the U.S. Coast Guard for its best practices award during its quadrennial conference in the Republic of Korea’s third largest city.
A leader in eATON employment, the U.S. Coast Guard maintains more than a quarter of the eATON in use around the world today. Utilizing the Nationwide Automatic Identification System (AIS) network of shore-based towers, the service employs eATON to augment its everyday physical ATON constellation for mariners who can “see” eATON with an AIS receiver and electronic charting system or integrated radar. Besides hurricane preparation and response, eATON has also been successfully used to respond to high water events in the Western Rivers and to supplement buoys in ice-covered waterways.
Following Hurricane Harvey, the Coast Guard established 13 eATON around Port Aransas, Texas. By temporarily using eATON to mark the buoys and beacons that were destroyed or damaged by the hurricane, the Coast Guard was able to reopen the port more quickly.
Leveraging the lessons learned from Hurricane Harvey, the Coast Guard proactively established 301 eATON around U.S. waterways in Hurricane Irma’s forecasted track prior to the storm. The eATON marked waterways from Tampa, Florida, to Key West, Florida, and up the eastern seaboard to Charleston, South Carolina, as well as around Puerto Rico.
Following the hurricanes, eATON provided a constant aid to navigation for mariners, including the buoy tenders and ATON teams that reconstituted the damaged physical ATON system.