Coast Guard Finishing Up Navigational Aids

The Coast Guard is finishing up its seasonal placement and maintenance of navigational aids throughout the Great Lakes.One of these cutters was in Chequamegon Bay this week setting and adjusting buoys.

Operation Spring Restore, an annual Coast Guard mission to verify and replace 1,281 aids to navigation throughout the Great Lakes region, is almost four weeks ahead of schedule, due to an unusually light 2011/2012 ice season, the Coast Guard says. The mission began on March 13.  

Returning aids to their proper stations is important because the lighted and unlighted buoys and beacons permit safe navigation along the Great Lakes, the Coast Guard says.

"After an unseasonably warm winter, we're ahead of schedule," said Lt. j.g. David Lieberman, 9th Coast Guard District cutter operations officer.  "It's a good thing, too, because boaters are hitting the water earlier than they traditionally would, and these aids are critical for safe navigation."

Spring Restore's counterpart is Operation Fall Retrieve, which takes place in the fall.  Fall Retrieve involves the removal of the aids due to the decreased vessel traffic or replacement with sturdier winter aids to minimize damage from ice and severe weather.