Federal Register

Port Access Route Study: The Areas Offshore of Massachusetts and Rhode Island

As a courtesy to our audience, Maritime Commons will provide a daily compilation of nationally-relevant Federal Register Notices. To provide comments for the public record, follow the Federal Register link for each individual notice. Please note, the Coast Guard cannot respond to comments on these notices outside of the Federal Register.

The Coast Guard announced in the Federal Register the completion of The Areas Offshore of Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Route Study.

From March 26, 2019 through May 14, 2020, the Coast Guard conducted The Areas Offshore of Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Route Study. The study focused on the seven adjacent leased areas of the outer continental shelf south of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts and east of Rhode Island that together constitute the Massachusetts/Rhode Island Wind Energy Area (MA/RI WEA). The study was conducted to 1) determine what, if any, navigational safety concerns exist with vessel transits in the study area; 2) determine whether to recommend changes to enhance navigational safety by examining existing shipping routes and waterway uses as any or all of the lease areas within the MA/RI WEA are partially or fully developed as wind farms; and 3) to evaluate the need for establishing vessel routing measures.

The information gathered during this study resulted in the following two recommendations:

  1. The MA/RI WEA’s turbine layout be developed along a standard and uniform grid pattern with at least three lines of orientation and standard spacing to accommodate vessel transits, traditional fishing operations, and search and rescue operations, throughout the MA/RI WEA. The adoption of a standard and uniform grid pattern through the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management approval process will likely eliminate the need for the Coast Guard to pursue formal or informal routing measures within the MA/RI WEA at this time.
    • Lanes for vessel transit should be oriented in a northwest to southeast direction, 0.6 NM to 0.8 NM wide. This width will allow vessels the ability to maneuver in accordance with the COLREGS while transiting through the MA/RI WEA.
    • Lanes for commercial fishing vessels actively engaged in fishing should be oriented in an east to west direction, 1 NM wide.
    • Lanes for commercial fishing vessels actively engaged in fishing should be oriented in an east to west direction, 1 NM wide.
  2. That mariners transiting in or near the MA/RI WEA should use extra caution, ensure proper watch and assess all risk factors.

The report, supporting and related material are available by searching docket number USCG-2019-0131 on the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov. The report is also available on the Coast Guard Navigation Center Port Access Route Study Reports webpage .

For questions regarding this report contact Mr. Craig Lapiejko, Waterways Management at First Coast Guard District, telephone (617) 223-8351, e-mail craig.d.lapiejko@uscg.mil.

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.