As sure as spring arrives, NOAA vessels and independent contractors are hitting the seas for the nation's 180th hydrographic surveying season, collecting data for over 2,000 square nautical miles in high-traffic U.S. coastal waters.
"Nautical charts are the foundation for the nation's maritime economy, and NOAA hydrographers spend months at sea, surveying critical areas to ensure safe navigation for the shipping, fishing, and boating communities," said Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of the Office of Coast Survey.
U.S. waters cover 3.4 million square nautical miles, including a seafloor that is constantly changing due to storms, erosion, and development. To keep the nation's suite of over a thousand nautical charts up to date, the Office of Coast Survey annually plans hydrographic survey projects to measure water depths and identify new navigational hazards.
For information and images for the 2014 survey season, see the NOAA Coast Survey Blog.