SEPTEMBER 11, 2017 — The United States Coast Guard established electronic Aids to Navigation (eATON) around critical U.S. waterways in Hurricane Irma’s forecasted track prior to the storm’s arrival.
Prior to the storm making landfall, the Coast Guard set up more than 300 eATON in various waterways from Tampa, Florida to Key West, Florida, and up the eastern seaboard to Charleston, South Carolina.
Working with interagency partners to ensure waterways are clear and navigable following a storm, this proactive measure will augment buoy tenders and aids to navigation teams as they work to reconstitute buoys and beacons.
The eATON are being broadcast over the Coast Guard’s Nationwide Automatic Identification System (NAIS) and can be used by any mariner with an AIS-equipped radar or electronic charting system.
As a back up to the NAIS network, the Coast Guard has a portable AIS system on standby for Hurricane Irma.
This portable system provides the ability to broadcast eATON in areas where NAIS does not cover.
“We temporarily set up eATON to mark these waterways in anticipation of the hurricane and the potential damage it could do to the beacons and buoys along its projected path,” said Lt. David Lieberman of the Navigation Technology and Risk Management Division.