U.S. Coast Guard Milford Haven's Aids to Navigation Team
The U.S. Coast Guard’s Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) that is based out of Milford Haven, Virginia, supports CBIBS with critical services. In December, they pulled CBIBS Upper Potomac from on board their buoy tender and replaced it with an ice buoy so that the CBIBS buoy and its sensors can stay safe over the winter. The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office greatly enjoys working with the ANT, and is thankful for their service.
Support is a two-way street in this scenario: The ANT frequently uses data from the CBIBS Stingray Point buoy at the mouth of the Rappahannock River to help make critical decisions regarding their safety as they go about their duties.
For example, water temperature is used to determine which safety gear—“float coats” or drysuits—the crew needs to use during cold-weather operations. And wind speed and wave height data can help the team know what to expect when they head out on the water.
The unit’s crew used a mobile app to check water temperature at the CBIBS Upper Potomac buoy before they left the dock for the removal operation. Crew members wore insulated dry suits that provide protection from the elements when air and water temperatures go below 50 degrees. The suits are designed to keep a crewmember dry and provide buoyancy if he or she were in the water during these conditions.
BMC Ben Brown is the unit’s Officer-in-Charge, which means that he oversees the operation and safety of all crewmembers.
“Our unit uses the data from these buoys every day, whether it is from a mobile app or online. We have an extensive area of responsibility ranging from Hampton, Virginia, to Tangier Sound, and up to the D.C. metro area and no matter what time of year, the conditions on the Chesapeake Bay can be unpredictable,” said BMC Brown. “Having on-scene and up-to-the-minute information regarding sea state, water temp, and wind conditions is a great advantage in preparing the crew and boat for whatever operation the unit is tasked with.”
When the water warms again in spring 2012, the CBIBS team looks forward to working with ANT Milford Haven again to remove the ice buoy and replace it with the fully functioning CBIBS Upper Potomac buoy.