Hydrographic survey operations begin March 3

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ship Ferdinand R. Hassler will be conducting hydrographic survey operations on the Mistaken Ground on the Eastern approach to Portland, starting March 3 through the end of March, 2020. The survey will take approximately 12 days (24-hour operation) with a weather window of 30 days. The hydrographic survey is being done to update the nautical chart for the safety of navigation and in support of a request from USCG Sector Northern New England.
In addition to the planned survey area, NOAA will be supporting a USCG Sector Northern New England investigation southeast of the survey area. These planned survey operations are subject to change due to weather and logistical constraints. It is the intent of NOAA to coordinate with local regulatory authorities and the lobster license holders, so survey operations can be conducted with minimal interference to lobster fishing.
A hydrographic survey of this type requires that the Ferdinand R. Hassler use multibeam sonar systems and will acquire detailed data of the bottom, delineating and obtaining least depths of potential hazards to navigation. The survey operations do not use tow nets, trawl nets or anything that touches the seafloor.
A high density of lobster traps may be in the area during survey operations. The personnel of the Ferdinand R. Hassler will exercise every caution while surveying to avoid entanglement of lobster pots. If a lobster trap does become entangled, the Ferdinand R. Hassler will immediately take action to stop the vessel and clear the pot lines from the sonar gear. In previous survey projects, coordination with local lobstermen allowed NOAA to postpone certain areas of the survey knowing the lobster traps were to be moved at a later time frame.
Lobster fishing gear does not need to be moved. Ferdinand R Hassler will be surveying with approximate line spacing of 400 to 500 meters, which can be modified on the fly to avoid gear and address sea state. The track lines will be determined based upon weather and site conditions.
The safety zone around the vessel is generally 1 nautical mile; however, with the complex nature of the survey area, it is recommended to contact the ship on VHF 16 or by phone if necessary.

Mistaken Ground 2020 Survey Contacts:
· VHF Channel 16
· Northeast Navigation Manager: Colleen Roche at (401) 545-0174; (northeast.navmanager@noaa.gov)
· Ferdinand R. Hassler Navigation Officer: (603) 812-8748; (nav.ferdinand.hassler@noaa.gov)
· Project Manager: Starla Robinson, (starla.robinson@noaa.gov). In the case of an emergent issue, the ship can be reached by cell at 603-812-8748. The Commanding Officer is LCDR Blankenship. The ship will be visible on AIS.