Houston/Galveston safe passage into the 21st Century, 1996


1997 1997 May 25


Ford SF
Bald RJ Puthli RS
Suga Y
Patrikalakis N

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Mariners transiting the 70+ mile waterway complex bounded by the ports of Houston, Galveston, and Texas City are routinely affected by high winds, strong currents, low water levels, and sporadic shoaling. These conditions challenge the mariner's ability to control ships and barge-pushing towboats. Narrow, dredged channels provide the only means of transiting the area and do not offer abundant room to avoid other vessels. The combination of these and other factors led to a total of 1,525 groundings from 1986 through 1995 as documented by the U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) monitoring region. VTS loosely defines groundings for their statistical records as an interaction with the bottom which leads to the inability of the master to refloat the vessel at will. Wind, current, and low tide were given as the primary causes in 481 groundings equating to 31.6 percent of the 1986-1995 total of 1525 groundings. Very recent statistical data indicates a eleven year total (1986-1996) of 1,644 groundings in Galveston Bay. For the ten year period (1987-1996) of pro-active HOGANSAC-USCG waterways management of aids to navigation, there were 1,335 Galveston Bay groundings. The 1987-1991 total groundings were 932. The 1992-1996 total groundings were 403 which reflects a 57% reduction between the five year periods of management. Today, mariners are benefiting from the installation of a modern technological system. Since late-1995, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) personnel, members of academia, the maritime community, and the Coast Guard have acted in concert to acquire, deploy, and disseminate critical real-time weather, current, and tidal information from a Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS). This intelligence can provide every mariner with crucial advance data regarding waterway and meteorological conditions that will affect their vessels




ASW,USA,Texas,Galveston Bay, Atmospheric, Channels, DO, Galveston Bay, Groundings, Harbours, Lead, Monitoring, Navigation, Navigational aids, O 7040 Shipping and Port Operations, Personnel, Port installations, Q2 02387 Navigation, Safety regulations, Ship handling, Shipping, Ships, shoaling, Texas, USA, USA,Texas, water, Water Level, Water levels, Weather, Wind