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Better Charts for L.I. Sound, Block Island After NOAA Conducts New Surveys


Vessels transiting eastern Long Island Sound now have access to updated nautical charts that will make sailing safer and more efficient in this busy area. The new editions of charts 13217 (Block Island) and 12372 (Long Island Sound, small craft) cover areas that are critical to navigation and which, for the most part, had not been surveyed since the 1960s. They identify two dozen new dangers to navigation, and incorporate new shoreline for Faulkner Island, Goose Island, and the port of New London.

Maritime officials in the area welcomed the new editions.

“The updated hydrography depicted in the highly traveled area south of Fisher’s Island and Watch Hill as well as updated shoreline delineation of the adjacent land masses will significantly improve the margin of navigational safety for boaters and commercial shipping,” explained retired Coast Guard Capt. Chuck Beck, who is now transportation maritime manager for Connecticut’s Department of Transportation.

NOAA cartographers revised the charts using 70 square nautical miles of hydrographic data and new shoreline images acquired by the NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson and NOAA aircraft. Thomas Jefferson acquired the survey data while participating in a collaborative Long Island Sound seafloor mapping program

with the states of Connecticut and New York, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition to providing information necessary to update nautical charts, the Thomas Jefferson data will give the state and federal government agencies valuable information for ocean planning.

“Ocean floors are amazingly dynamic, and we have to chart those changes to provide precise and accurate navigational data for today’s maritime economy,” explained Cmdr. Lawrence Krepp, who was commanding officer and the chief scientist of the Thomas Jefferson. “Our data is used to update NOAA’s nautical charts, but the hydrographic information can also support a number of other uses, ranging from fisheries management to alternative energy siting and ocean use planning.”

The new chart edition for 13217 is available September 26 as a Print-on-Demand chart and a NOAA Raster Navigational Chart (NOAA RNC). Chart 12372 is a folio chart and therefore not available as a POD chart. It is an RNC, also available on Sept. 26. Traditional paper charts will be available for purchase from chart vendors in October. The NOAA Electronic Navigational Charts (NOAA ENC) will be available for download in November. The ENC cell for 13217 is US5RI11; the ENC cell for 12372 is US5CN20.

Bathy for charts 13217 and 12372