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RDC Working With Partners In Alaska To Make Arctic Navigation Safer

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RDC Working With Partners In Alaska

Coast Guard Cutter Maple follows the Canadian coast guard icebreaker Terry Fox through the icy waters of Franklin Strait in Nunavut, Canada, Aug. 11, 2017. The Arctic presents unique challenges for navigation, including extreme conditions that make it difficult to deploy and maintain navigational aids. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nate Littlejohn.


The Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC) is partnering with the Marine Exchange of Alaska to establish a communications system that will make Arctic navigation safer and will help protect the environment in the region.

“The goal of the RDC project is to find a means, through technology, to transmit navigational safety information where traditional aids to navigation and general infrastructure (power, networks) are extremely limited,” said Irene Gonin, an RDC researcher and project manager. “Ultimately, that will lead to safer marine operations in the area.”

The project team is working to expand the capabilities of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) facilities in the area. AIS is designed to autonomously and continuously exchange pertinent vessel navigational information, such as vessel identification, dimensions, position, course, speed and status. The Coast Guard’s Nationwide Automatic Identification System already provides those capabilities in many major ports and waterways throughout the United States. The RDC project plans to use technology and expertise from that program to improve the system in the Arctic.

A recent Coast Guard Compass blog post describes the RDC project in more detail.

For more information: Research, Development, Test and Evaluation program page and Nationwide Automatic Identification System program page.