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Seminar joint with Oceanography: NOAA, Hydrography, and The Office of Coast Survey
September 11 @ 3:15 pm - 4:15 pm
Ensign Airlie Pickett and Ensign Harper Umfress
NOAA Ship Rainier
Hydrography has been around for as long as people have been going to sea. Nautical charts serve as maps for the mariner, identifying shoal areas, wrecks, safe water, reefs, etc. They are the primary source of navigational information for all oceangoing vessels, and support billions of dollars in trade every year. The Office of Coast Survey and NOAA’s fleet of ships and small boats are responsible for the creation and maintenance of the nautical charts within US territorial waters. The science of hydrography has advanced rapidly over the past 100 years. In the 1920’s the primary means of depth sounding was with a lead line. The 1930’s and 40’s saw the advent of Single Beam Sonar, which remained the standard until the 1990’s when Multibeam Technology became economically and operationally feasible.
The NOAA Ship Rainier is one of the most productive hydrographic survey platforms in the world. Commissioned in 1968, she has been in near continuous operation for the past 51 years and has surveyed in areas ranging from Nome, AK to the Channel Islands in California to the Hawaiian Archipelago. She carries 8 small boats, five of which are equipped with echosounders to conduct nearshore survey operations and has a crew of ~45 people, including Survey Technicians, Engineers, Stewards, Deck Force, and Commissioned Officers. All of these departments serve vital roles in keeping the ship safe, efficient, and effective. Our mission has expanded over the years, and our data is no longer used solely for the purpose of nautical charts. The advent of new technology and processing techniques means that it is now possible to identify different types of substrate, which can be used for habitat mapping and planning purposes. Our talk will be an introduction to our state-of-the-art survey technology and our multi-faceted oceanographic mission.