This week, NOAA and the U.S. Power Squadrons, a non-profit organization dedicated to safe boating, will renew a 50-year commitment to a cooperative charting program that helps to update the nation's thousands of navigational charts.
Under the voluntary program, formalized by a Memorandum of Agreement, members of the U.S. Power Squadrons scan water and land areas, looking for changing conditions that may not be reflected on NOAA nautical charts. Power Squadrons members submit their reports online, and NOAA cartographers review and incorporate changes to their navigation products.
Over the last10 years, power squadrons members have submitted more than 28,000 corrections to NOAA's nautical charts and the United States Coast Pilot, a series of nautical books that cover a variety of information important to coastal and Great Lakes navigators. More than 4,000 members have submitted reports, adding their particular local knowledge to NOAA's national effort to keep navigation materials accurate.
Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of NOAA's Office of Coast Survey, and John Alder, chief commander of the U.S. Power Squadrons, will sign a new Memorandum of Agreement that updates and improves the cooperative charting program.
In 1963, the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, one of NOAA's predecessor agencies, recognized the challenge of maintaining one thousand U.S. nautical charts, covering 95,000 miles of coastline, with the sparse resources at hand. Many charts would go uninspected by Coast Survey surveyors for decades, agency leaders acknowledged. To help remedy the situation, Coast Survey established the cooperative charting program so local Power Squadron members could check their local charts for accuracy and report discrepancies.
The U.S. Power Squadrons is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to making boating safer and more enjoyable by teaching classes in seamanship, navigation and related subjects. The organization has nearly 40,000 members, in more than 400 squadrons across the country and in U.S. territories.
NOAA's Office of Coast Survey, originally formed by President Thomas Jefferson in 1807, updates the nation's nautical charts, surveys the coastal seafloor, responds to maritime emergencies and searches for underwater obstructions and wreckage that pose a danger to navigation.
NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.