ALEXANDRIA, Va. — For recreational boaters, the waterway signposts known as aids to navigation are critical for a safe journey. But what if an aid to navigation (ATON) such as a floating buoy marking the edge a deep-water channel could only be seen on an electronic screen and not by the naked eye? Will recreational boaters benefit from these new “eATONs”? That’s the question the US Coast Guard wants to find out with a 25-question online survey at tinyurl.com/oq44klu
On March 12, 2014 the USCG began operating 25 fully functioning “virtual” and “synthetic” eATONs in San Francisco waters with a goal to improved safety and efficiency. Some of these electronic waterway signposts mark the ship-traffic lanes outside the Golden Gate Bridge. The eATONs are only “visible” to vessels equipped with Automatic Identification System (AIS) technology that’s currently found on large commercial vessels and a small portion of recreational boats.
Boaters are encouraged to take the short survey before the end of the year.