Navigation Systems

Coast Guard requesting comments to improve Nation’s shallow draft waterways ATON system

The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting an assessment of the Shallow Draft Waterway Systems, the fourth in a series of studies to determine the navigation requirements for mariners in the U.S. Marine Transportation System (MTS).  The Waterways Analysis and Management System (WAMS) study will help the Coast Guard to determine the Aids to Navigation (ATON) requirements in the Shallow Draft Waterway Systems which includes all navigable waterways of the United States less than 12 feet.

The WAMS study is focused on providing consistent, program-wide policy necessary to support Coast Guard District Commanders in the execution and management of ATON services within the Shallow Draft Waterway System.  The shallow draft system is present in all nine Coast Guard Districts.  The recommendations will not determine what individual ATON to add, keep, or remove, but they may shape policy for the next generation waterway system management and design.  All ATON activities remain under the purview of the local District Commander.  The assessment is part of the U.S. Coast Guard’s effort to make navigable waterways of the United States safer, more efficient and resilient. Studies have been previously conducted of the Atlantic and Pacific Seacoast Systems along with the Western Rivers (Inland Waterways) System. Future studies are planned to include the Intracoastal Waterways and Deep Draft Waterway Systems.

Waterway users, interested parties, and stakeholders are invited to provide comments or feedback via the tool posted at  This link will remain available until November 1, 2020.   

Further questions or comments may be emailed to using the subject line: “Shallow Draft WAMS”.

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 publications, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These publications remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

1 reply »

  1. Commend the Coast Guard for making current bathyscopic maps of recurrently shoaling areas available to cruising boaters traveling up and down the ICW.

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