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Coast Guard completes Western Rivers NAIS


The NAIS system in Pittsburgh tracks vessel movement

The NAIS system in Pittsburgh tracks vessel movement through the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers near the city. It provides the Coast Guard with important vessel information and allows the service to transmit navigational information to navigators. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Coast Guard completed installation of the Nationwide Automatic Identification System (NAIS) in the Western Rivers region on July 5 with the acceptance of five final tower facilities in Kentucky, West Virginia, Missouri, Arkansas and Pennsylvania.

The Western Rivers region includes the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio Rivers and their major tributaries.

NAIS improves awareness for navigators and the Coast Guard, helping them operate safely and more efficiently. The system gathers navigational data transmitted by vessels to provide the Coast Guard with an overall awareness of maritime traffic, and also allows ports to transmit text messages and electronic aids to navigation to ships in the nation’s busiest waterways. The system can receive transmissions from up to 50 miles away and can transmit to vessels 24 miles away.

The port of San Francisco has used the system to transmit messages and virtual buoys to vessels entering certain areas notifying them of whale protection areas, bridge supports, ongoing sailing races and other potential navigational hazards. The information is transmitted directly to a ship’s navigational displays.

The five recently installed facilities provide coverage for parts of the Mississippi River and its tributaries.  NAIS is now operational in 66 major U.S. ports and waterways, with three more sites in Alaska to be deployed by the end of the year.

For more information: Nationwide Automatic Identification System program page