Coast Guard nears completion of seasonal buoy replacement operation throughout Great Lakes

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND — The Coast Guard is nearing completion of the mission to replace seasonal aids to navigation this week throughout the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Operation Spring Restore, an annual mission to verify and replace 1,281 aids to navigation throughout the Great Lakes region, is nearly 80% complete and almost four weeks ahead of schedule, due to an unusually light 2011/2012 ice season.

The mission began on March 13.

Returning ATON to their proper stations is important because the lighted and unlighted buoys and beacons permit safe navigation along the Great Lakes.

“After an unseasonably warm winter, we’re ahead of schedule,” said Lt. j.g. David Lieberman, 9th Coast Guard District cutter operations officer. “It’s a good thing, too, because boaters are hitting the water earlier than they traditionally would, and these aids are critical for safe navigation.”

Spring Restore’s counterpart is Operation Fall Retrieve, which takes place in the Fall. Fall Retrieve involves the removal of the aids due to the decreased vessel traffic or replacement with sturdier winter aids to minimize damage from ice and severe weather.

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