Navigation Systems

1/18/2018: Coast Guard testing new delivery method for marine safety information

Submitted by Lt.j.g. Vincent Nitopi, Coast Guard Navigation Center

Have you ever wanted to plot a course, find out about potential waterway hazards, or plan a trip, all before getting underway or onboard a vessel? Soon you can. As the primary federal agency responsible for providing Maritime Safety Information (MSI) to mariners, the Coast Guard is testing an information delivery method to bring mariners Broadcast Notice to Mariners (BNM), Maritime Safety Information Bulletins (MSIB) and other MSI currently available only through VHF-FM marine band radio.

The Navigation Center, in conjunction with Coast Guard District 5, which covers the Mid-Atlantic region, developed an MSI test project currently focused on delivering BNM’s from Sector Delaware Bay to email inboxes and the Internet through an RSS service. This will allow users to access updates to online content in a standardized format.

The current test phase includes all BNMs issued by the following Coast Guard units:

• Sector Maryland-National Capital Region
• Sector North Carolina
• Sector Hampton Roads
• Sector Delaware Bay
• Coast Guard District 5

The test phase will expand January 22 to deliver information throughout the entirety of District 5’s area of responsibility, initially updated during business hours and increasing to a 24×7 cycle in early February.

Through the free online subscription service Gov Delivery, mariners can subscribe to selected “Topics” based on geographical areas, and receive information that has traditionally only been available through VHF-FM marine band radio. This change greatly enhances the mariner’s ability to plan before and during transit.

The Coast Guard is developing a streamlined, standardized message format, to ensure consistency across sectors and districts, as well as easing the burden on the customer, to identify the key takeaways from a message. Not only is this an important milestone for those receiving the information, but it also paves the way toward an automated process.

This project has the potential to increase the safety and efficiency of the maritime community by creating multiple product types and data sharing from a centralized repository to automate data consumption, information correlation, product updates and dissemination available 24×7. The Navigation Center and District 5 are laying the foundation, with the goal of deploying the new MSI scheme Coast Guard wide by early 2019.

To subscribe to a specific topic via email:

District Five Email
Sector Delaware Bay Email
Sector Hampton Roads Email
Sector Maryland-National Capital Region Email
Sector North Carolina Email

To subscribe to a specific RSS feed (view 25 most recent):

District Five RSS
Sector Delaware Bay RSS
Sector Hampton Roads RSS
Sector Maryland-National Capital Region RSS
Sector North Carolina RSS

Use the following links for more information regarding the MSI Pilot Project, subscriptions, or to submit questions:

NAVCEN Subscription and RSS Feeds
MSI Pilot Project Homepage
Contact Us – Questions or Comments

Editor’s note: Look for announcements on Maritime Commons whenever the MSI delivery service is expanded to new regions.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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