Coast Guard seeks public comment on waterways analysis study of Grays Harbor


Coast Guard officials are seeking public comment while conducting a waterways analysis and management system review of Grays Harbor.

Officials are seeking information from local mariners regarding the general use of the waterways and any issues with the visibility, placement or location of aids to navigation in that area before the comment deadline of Jan. 31, 2015.

This WAMS is the second combined WAMS and includes five old waterways: Grays Harbor Main Channel, Hoquiam Reach, North Bay, South Channel and South Bay.

Coast Guard officials use WAMS to validate the adequacy of the existing aids to navigation systems and to get a better understanding of the uses of each waterway and general safety issues. WAMS focuses on the waterway’s present ATON system, marine casualty information, port and harbor resources, changes in recreational and commercial marine vessel usage and future dredging and development projects.

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Fishing vessel crew saves 2 near Grays Harbor

The crew of a fishing vessel rescued two men from the water near buoy 24 in Grays Harbor, Washington, Sunday.

The men, one 72-year-old and one 53-year-old, both Tacoma residents, were safely transferred to a Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small, and taken to the station where they were met by EMS personnel and treated for signs of hypothermia.

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River watchstanders received a call from the fishermen at 11:49 a.m. reporting that they had rescued two men from the water near the Grays Harbor South Jetty.

The two men were aboard their 16-foot boat when a wave reportedly capsized them and they were thrown into the water. They were estimated to have been floating at sea for four to five hours while an incoming tide helped carry them into Grays Harbor where they were eventually rescued.

“The help and watchful lookout by the fishermen saved two men today,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Zariczny, an operations specialist and search and rescue coordinator at Sector Columbia River. “The life jackets the two boaters were wearing were vital in their rescue. However, without the help of the fishing vessel crew, we may never have known they were out there and in trouble.”

The Coast Guard encourages all boaters to have essential safety equipment on board their vessel, including life jackets, flares, and most importantly a way to call for help in an emergency. Having a VHF marine radio to call for help, or to be carrying an emergency position indicating radio beacon, is essential for letting someone know you need help.

Both men were treated and released by EMS personnel.

The exact position of the sunken vessel is unknown. Mariners are encouraged to keep a safe lookout for any hazards as they transit in and out of Grays Harbor. There are no reports of pollution from the sunken vessel.

Grays Harbor Wave Buoy Re-deployed

Wave and sea surface temperature information from CDIP’s buoys are updated every 30 minutes on the program’s website at and hourly on NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts. In addition, a CDIP iPhone app is available for free on iTunes. Data are once again available from the Grays Harbor Wave Buoy. All data are made available publicly for use by mariners, weather forecasters, coastal planners, scientists, and beachgoers. CDIP also characterizes waves for regional coastlines, seeks to understand and predict the response of beaches to waves and develops and validates regional sediment management models. Without these publicly available data, life and property would be at risk. Generous contributions of time and services are given by many local stakeholders to ensure the efficient recovery and deployment of these sensitive and valuable oceanographic instruments. Any questions may be directed to 858-534-3032 or
The Grays Harbor, WA station, first deployed in 1981, supports USACE missions and a wide variety of activities in Washington, including Coast Guard operations, pilot transfers to commercial vessels, and the safety of commercial and recreational mariners. CDIP also operates a directional wave buoy at the Mouth of the Columbia River, deployed in fall 2009 in collaboration with the Washington and Oregon maritime communities.

The Buoy is moored approximately 4.5 nm SW of the entrance to Grays Harbor

Cantwell Threatens NOAA With Congressional Hearings

In early December, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) ordered a review of the NOAA decision, sustaining a protest lodged by the Port of Bellingham, one of the bidders in the competition for the Marine Operations Center.  The GAO determined that NOAA failed to take into account that the location of the proposed pier in Newport lies within a 100-year floodplain.  Locating the NOAA facility in a floodplain is prohibited under both the competition’s rules and presidential Executive Order 11988.
Cantwell and other members of the Washington delegation responded to the GAO’s findings, calling on NOAA and the Department of Commerce to follow the GAO’s recommendation and comply with the floodplain restrictions of Executive Order 11988. In a letter dated December 11, 2009, Cantwell and others stressed that as the agency moves forward, it needs to bring a renewed sense of independence and credibility to the decision-making process: “We fear that if the decisions on how to respond to GAO’s findings continue to rest with those who conducted the original flawed competition, we will see brazen attempts to preserve the award to Newport rather than any real effort to comply with the spirit of GAO’s recommendations and Executive Order 11988.”
Since NOAA announced its proposal to move NOAA’s fleet of scientific ships to Oregon in August, Cantwell has raised numerous policy concerns about the agency’s decision.  Cantwell, Murray, and several other members of the Washington delegation have asked: whether moving NOAA’s fleet outside Puget Sound would damage NOAA’s scientific missions; whether it would hurt NOAA’s capacity to hire and retain qualified mariners; whether NOAA fully understood the consequences of moving its ships away from a major maritime center; and whether NOAA ignored crucial weather factors in the Pacific Northwest. 
For more information, please see the following letters sent to the Department of Commerce and NOAA by Cantwell and others from the Washington delegation: