Maritime Safety

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GOAL: Provide data to support safety and efficiency of commercial maritime operations and recreational navigation across the Great Lakes.

MANAGEMENT AND POLICY DRIVERS: Safe and efficient maritime operations are a crucial component of the Great Lakes economy. Both recreational boating, including sport fishing, and commercial navigation employ thousands of individuals directly and contribute billions of dollars to the economy. GLOS aims to ensure that the data needed to facilitate these activities is readily available and that any tools or products developed are robust, reliable, and widely used. GLOS directly serves recreational boaters throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River through the ongoing support of and improvements to the Great Lakes Boaters Tool. GLOS also supports commercial navigation, in a less direct way, by facilitating and funding buoys that collect data used to generate improved weather forecasts and point-specific environmental intelligence.

National and regional management and policy efforts related to maritime operations include:

  • S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Navigation System and Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway
  • International Joint Commission water level regulation under the Boundary Waters Treaty
  • US IOOS National Wave Plan
  • US IOOS National Surface Currents Plan
  • Port Authority infrastructure planning needs
  • Recreational boater needs
  • needs including but not limited to: wind energy, search and rescue, ice breaking, and bi-national
  • efforts to improve the resilience of regional maritime commerce to climate impact.

Monitoring the Great Lakes is an important and consuming effort. Public safety and health can be threatened by high winds, rough waves, storm surges, and runoff. The Great Lakes Observing System has several tools to support public safety, including the GLOS Data Portal, the Boater’s Forecast, and the HABs Data Viewer.

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