For the U.S. Coast Guard, maintaining navigational aids is just another day on the water

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 5:56 PM EDT
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ROCKLAND, Maine (WABI) - The United States Coast Guard has been responsible for maintaining navigational aids since 1789, working to ensure navigational safety for boaters and mariners.

For the Coast Guard aboard the CGC Abbie Burgess in Rockland Harbor, It’s just another day on the water, replacing a navigational aid that needs cycling out, for a new one that will provide guidance for vessels of all kinds.

“There’s over 4,500 miles of coastline along Maine,” said the ship’s Commanding Officer Michael Hall. “The maritime industry brings in hundreds-of-millions of dollars just in lobster. So maintaining the waterways is extremely important for the safe navigation of all the vessels, the safe navigation of the recreational vessels that populate the area, especially in the summertime. There’s over 4,700 different islands that are over an acre large. So, we mark quite a few of those, and all the safe entrances and exits to all the harbors so that both commercial and recreational shipping can have a safe path in and out of the water.”

“The work involved in what goes on with them,” said Seaman Isaiah Reid. “You just think it’s pretty simple, you just drop them there. But some might be tangled in knots, and some might just be pretty straight forward on what we have to do with them. Every day is different. They’re actually all in a very specific place. They’re all within five yards of where they’re put on GPS coordinates. So there’s a lot of precision that goes into putting these in, and also upkeep on them.

The Coast Guard here is responsible for 367 navigational aids, and Monday’s was one of 120 the Coast Guard will service in a given year. It isn’t seasonal work, but it’s work the crew aboard the Abbie Burgess is up for.

“We do work year ‘round,” C.O. Hall said. “The crew out here is very dedicated. Even in the blustery winter weather, working. So, they’re an excellent crew out here.”