Coast Guard upgrades to more technological navigation aids in Mission Bay

SAN DIEGO – The Coast Guard installed and activated new fog horn in Mission Bay May 25, 2010 to replace outdated technology, and put the activation of the navigation aid into the hands of the boating public.

The San Diego Aids to Navigation Team has been working with the Army Corps of Engineers for the past eight months as the Corps repaired Mission Jetty, which was destroyed almost 10 years ago in a storm. Two new solar navigational lights that mark the entrance to the jetty and the new fog horn have been installed as a part of the repair.

Mariners who enter the channel by way of the Mission Jetty when it is foggy can now use their VHF radio to activate the fog horn for navigational guidance. Mariners can tune their radio to channel 79A and depress their mic five times to activate the fog horn.

“This is the same technology that small airports use to active lights on the runways,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Tapp, the officer in charge of the Aids to Navigation Team. “The fog horn does not need to be on all of the time when it is foggy, just when a boater is transiting the area. This means it will only be on when someone really needs it, and this system will help cut down on noise pollution in the area.”

This is the second fog horn of its kind installed on the West Coast, the first was installed in Northern California at the beginning of May. This technology is being used throughout the Great Lakes and has been very successful.

The previous fog horn was activated by a cell phone costing tax payers more than $1,200 every year to maintain the phone line.

The Coast Guard would like to remind all mariners that it is very important to bring some sort of communication with them while they are on the water in case of an emergency. Carrying a VHF radio is one of the best means of communication because cell phones lose reception and batteries can quickly drain.

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