NOAA navigation response team responds after ferry strikes submerged object

By, LT. j.g. Dylan Kosten

On November 27, 2017, a New York City ferry departing from Pier 11 in the East River struck an underwater pylon, stranding over 100 passengers. The pylon was most likely from the remains of an old pier demolished several years earlier. At the request of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), NOAA’s navigation response team 5 (NRT 5), homeported in New London, Connecticut, assisted in the investigation.

NRT 5 boat S3007 on trailer, with Eli Smith (left) and Lt. j.g. Dylan Kosten (right).

NRT 5 arrived in Jersey City, New Jersey, on December 4, to prepare for surveying. The following day, the team picked up an investigator from the USCG, deployed the boat, and headed towards Pier 11. Using the team’s multibeam echo sounder and with guidance from the investigator, the team surveyed the remains of the former pier.

Multibeam echo sounder data of the submerged pier near Pier 11, East River, New York. A danger to navigation (DTON) report was submitted to the USCG for this area.


NRT 5 surveying ruins of former pier, with USCG Chief Warrant Officer Leathers (left), Eli Smith (front right), and Lt. j.g. Dylan Kosten (back right).

With the pier investigation finished, the team received an additional request from the USCG to survey a wrecked sailboat in Raritan Bay, a water body between New York and New Jersey. The sailboat was quickly surveyed, allowing the team time for good training opportunities.

Subset of water column data showing the top of the sailboat’s mast sitting at approximately 12.3 feet below the surface. A DTON report was submitted for this wreck.


Lt. j.g. Dylan Dylan Kosten instructing Michael Bloom on proper navigation and “rules of the road.”

With the mission completed, NRT 5 headed back north to Connecticut, where the data will be processed and products created to help the USCG in their investigation.

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