Advances in Visual Aids to Navigation Technology: Leveraging Technology to Improve Navigational Aid Performance and Reduce Risk

The U.S. Coast Guard, per United States Code 14USC81, administers the U.S. Aids to Navigation (AtoN) system and is responsible for its development, establishment, operation, and maintenance. The Coast Guard has consistently sought new equipment, techniques, and methods to provide all waterways users with a reliable, cost-effective system of AtoN that will enable them to fix their vessels' positions, determine safe courses to steer, and avoid unseen dangers to the degree of accuracy appropriate to the level of risk. To a casual observer, the buoys and beacons along our nation's coasts look much the same as they did 30 years ago, except perhaps that black buoys are now green and the black and white (skunk) mid-channel buoys are now red and white. A little closer look, however, will reveal that an extensive and ongoing technological transformation is taking place, not just on the buoys and beacons themselves, but also with servicing and maintenance practices. This piece looks at the modern technological transformation taking place in AtoN today, focusing on visual aids to navigation.


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  • Accession Number: 01054768
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 31 2007 12:23PM