Provide tools for safe navigation
to eliminate deaths, injuries, and environmental and property
The recent rapid expansion
of trade, wealth, and recreational opportunities has led to a
corresponding growth in vessel traffic and in the potential for
accidents. About 3,500 ships are involved annually in accidents
on our nation's waterways, and 50%of waterborne cargo contains
hazardous materials. Human error is the cause of approximately
80%of those accidents. Educating mariners, pilots, crew, and
rescuers about navigational concerns and maintaining a continuing
dialogue among marine user groups will facilitate the creation
of a safer operating environment.
To reduce the risk of accidents
and spills, U.S. mariners and harbor pilots need information
derived from new integrated electronic technologies, such as
seafloor mapping, detailed large-scale digital vector charts,
precise positioning systems, and real-time and predicted oceanographic
and meteorological data. Expanded overseas charting services
are also needed to support U.S. military and commercial navigation
in foreign waters.
Because most of the nation's
harbors and channels are not naturally deep enough to accommodate
modern vessels, the U.S. dredges an average of 275 million cubic
yards of sediment a year to maintain and improve the 299 deep-draft
(greater than 14 feet) and 626 shallow-draft navigation projects.
However, routine dredging can be environmentally destructive,
and many of America 's greatest seaports have contaminated sediment
cannot be dredged without harm to the environment. The nation's
need for safe, efficient marine transportation must be balanced
with the priority of healthy coastal waters.
- The rapid advance in the technological
capabilities of navigational aids has outpaced the government's
ability to provide the quality-controlled, standardized data
streams needed to "fuel"new navigation products and
- Many areas of U.S. coastal
waters have not been mapped in 50 years, including 35,000 of
the 43,000 square nautical miles identified in 1993 as critical
to U.S. ports and their approaches.
- Although increased maintenance
dredging for existing navigation channels and additional dredging
requirements for port improvements are required, better dredging
techniques have not been identified.
- The greatest threat to safe
navigation is human error. Yet, too few educational programs
exist to teach commercial and recreational mariners the importance
of human error in accident prevention.
- Eliminate the hydrographic
survey backlog of 35,000 square nautical miles of critical areas
in U.S. ports and their approaches, and map the one-third of
the 95,000 miles of U.S. coastline that has never been mapped
using photogrammetric methods.
- Complete the production of
electronic charts for U.S. and overseas waters, and develop an
electronic system for disseminating timely updates and corrections
to U.S. military and civilian mariners worldwide.
- Deploy real-time environmental
observation and prediction systems, such as the Physical Oceanographic
Real-Time System (PORTS), in U.S. high-traffic areas, and complement
them with high-resolution predictions of all navigationally significant
weather and oceanographic conditions.
- Expedite the development of
technologies for maintaining navigation channels to improve the
reliability and safety of federal navigation projects.
- Conduct research on effective
and environmentally sensitive management of sediment, reduction
of the flow of sediment into waterways, remediation of contaminated
sediment, and disposal of dredged spoil in an environmentally
- Develop educational programs
to teach commercial and recreational mariners the importance
of avoiding human error in accident prevention.
For more information
Premised on mutual respect and
shared commitment by government, industry, and labor, the Coast
Guard's Prevention Through People program promotes m rine safety
and environmental protection by addressing the human element
the root cause of approximately 80%of marine accidents.
Through this program, the Coast Guard works with mariners to
develop innovative, non-regulatory solutions to human element
issues, such as publishing advisory risk management guidelines
and other "lessons learned" documents.