Coast Guard Uses Electronic Aids to Navigation to Reopen Texas Port Early
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Coast Guard has established electronic Aids to Navigation (eATON) to aid in the reopening of a critical Texas port following Hurricane Harvey, the service said in a Sept. 8 release.
Once channel and waterway assessments were completed, the Coast Guard created 13 eATON around Port Aransas, Texas, to temporarily mark waterways where buoys and beacons were lost or destroyed.
The eATON were broadcast over the Coast Guard’s Nationwide Automatic Identification System and can be used by any mariner with an Automatic Information System-equipped radar or electronic charting system. This ability to quickly and remotely mark the waterway contributed to the port opening several days ahead of schedule.
As a back up to the nationwide Automatic Information System network, the Coast Guard also deployed a portable system to Texas for Hurricane Harvey. This portable system provides the ability to broadcast eATON in areas the nationwide system does not cover.
“As demonstrated during this hurricane response, eATON enables us to quickly mark a waterway on a temporary basis while our traditional physical aids to navigation are reconstituted following a natural disaster,” said Chief Warrant Officer Kristopher Franklin, with the Coast Guard Navigation Technology and Risk Management Division, who deployed to Texas for Hurricane Harvey.