Practicing Partnership: Coast Guard Cutter Aspen, NOAA

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration technician performs required maintenance on NOAA Environmental Buoy 46013, approximately 30 nautical miles off the coast of Monterey Bay, Calif., between July 27-30. The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Aspen, a 225-foot buoy tender homeported out of San Francisco, and members of NOAA performed scheduled maintenance and hull relief on buoys that transmit critical weather data and surf forecast. (Photo by U.S. Coast Guard)

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration technician performs required maintenance on NOAA Environmental Buoy 46013 on the Coast Guard Cutter Aspen. (Photo by U.S. Coast Guard)

SAN FRANCISCO — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Aspen and a team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration established a new NOAA environmental buoy and serviced three existing buoys approximately 30 nautical miles west of Monterey Bay from July 27-30.

The newly established buoy named 46FLO, referred to as “Flossie,” is a six-meter boat-shaped Navy Oceanographic Meteorological Automatic Device buoy.

Funded by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Coastal Hydrology Lab, Flossie, contains three separate wave systems that will collect data and aid the Army Corps of Engineers in using 20 years of historical data from NOAA Data Buoy Center buoys.

46FLO was named Flossie in honor of Navy Cmdr. Florence “Flossie” Van Straten, a pioneer in naval meteorology and oceanography and a key player in the development of the automated buoy systems the National Data Buoy Center currently uses.

The crew of Aspen and the NOAA team also performed scheduled maintenance and hull reliefs on buoys 46042, 46013, and 46026 ensuring the continued transmission of critical weather data and surf forecasts, as well as providing tsunami alerts to the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas.

The Coast Guard and NOAA partnership originated in the late 1960s when buoy development and operations were conducted solely by the Coast Guard. The program was transferred to NOAA in 1970, but the Coast Guard continues to support buoy deployments, retrievals, and other maintenance.

When not working NOAA buoys, Aspen maintains 73 navigational buoys along the coast of California, and performs search and rescue, law enforcement, and marine environmental response missions throughout the Pacific.

Homeported in San Francisco, the Aspen is a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender with a Dynamic Positioning System that allows the cutter to hold the vessel within a 10-meter circle using GPS. This system allows the crew to service and position floating aids to navigation more efficiently than before in winds up to 30 knots and eight-foot seas.

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