NOAA awards contract to build new navigation response boats   2 comments

NOAA today announced that Lake Assault Boats of Superior, Wisconsin, will build two small vessels for the Office of Coast Survey’s navigation response program, part of a plan to eventually replace all six of the program’s small survey boats. The combined cost of both 28-foot vessels is $538,200.

“All of the navigation response team survey boats are nearing or have exceeded their designed service life,” said Russ Proctor, division chief of Coast Survey’s Navigation Services Division. “A phased program to replace the navigation response team boats over the next three to five years will help NOAA maintain the program’s crucial capacity for inshore surveys and rapid response in emergencies.”

The navigation response team (NRT) boats, which accommodate three-person crews, carry high-tech multibeam echo sounders and side scan sonar to conduct hydrographic surveys in critical navigation areas. The surveys collect data to update nautical charts, and search for underwater debris or shoaling that could pose a danger to navigation — especially after hurricanes or other national emergencies.

“The modernization of the NRT fleet will continue to ensure reliable and rapid deployments to ports that need chart updates and assistance with recovery after severe weather events, even as it helps NOAA hold down costs,” Proctor said.

Coast Survey is phasing the retirement of its current fleet of NRT vessels, prioritizing the replacement of boats experiencing the highest escalating maintenance costs. Coast Survey expects delivery of the first two boats in April 2015.

The six navigation response teams are placed strategically around the country, and each boat can be transported over land. In the past three years, underwater searches by NRTs have helped to speed the resumption of maritime commerce following Hurricane Isaac (in Port Fourchon, Louisiana); Sandy (in the Port of New York / New Jersey, and in Delaware Bay); and the 2011 tsunami (Crescent City and Santa Cruz, California). An NRT also assisted the National Park Service in re-establishing safe navigation and docking at the Statue of Liberty after Sandy, and surveyed the Potomac River security zone in preparation for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural.

Nautical chart data acquired by the navigation response teams supplement hydrographic surveys conducted by NOAA ships Rainier, Fairweather, Thomas Jefferson, Ferdinand R. Hassler, and research vessel Bay Hydro II, as well as private survey companies under contract to NOAA.

Escorted by harbor police after Hurricane Isaac, the Coast Survey navigation response team had to skirt downed utility poles and hanging wires on closed Hwy 1, as they made their way from Lafayette to Port Fourchon.

Escorted by harbor police after Hurricane Isaac, the Coast Survey navigation response team had to skirt downed utility poles and hanging wires on closed Hwy 1, as they made their way from Lafayette to Port Fourchon.

NRT2 surveys Marcus Hook Anchorage

A navigation response team had to clear away debris on the ramp so they could survey Marcus Hook Anchorage on the Delaware River in Sandy’s aftermath.

Posted September 22, 2014 by NOAA Office of Coast Survey in Nautical charts

2 responses to “NOAA awards contract to build new navigation response boats

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  1. There is a strong demand for these boats in other offices within NOAA. If any of our boats are not transferred internally, then they will go into GSAxcess. Once in GSAxcess, they will first be available to other agencies in the Department of Commerce, then opened to federal government agencies outside of Commerce, then to state and local Governments, and then finally if no other government entities have taken them, they will go to GSA public auction.

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  2. What is the process for disposing of the retired survey boats? Are they available for sale to the general public?

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