The Ninth Coast Guard District begins its annual retrieval of the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Seaway System seasonal aids to navigation before ice forms.
In a massive task Operation Fall Retrieve, which includes lighted and unlighted buoys and beacons has begun, with a goal of retrieving 1,282 navigational aids, and should be completed by Dec. 28, 2012. The aids, approximately half in the region, are taken out of service during the winter months due to decreased vessel traffic and to minimize damage from ice and severe weather.
The Ninth Coast Guard District’s aids to navigation system facilitates safe and efficient maritime activity in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway region by marking safe passage for domestic, international, commercial and recreational vessel traffic. The Coast Guard manages 3,127 fixed and floating federal aids in the region.
To accomplish the aids to navigation mission, the Ninth Coast Guard District employs six Coast Guard cutters, five Aids-to-Navigation Teams; five small boat stations with aids-to-navigation duties; the Lamplighters, civilian employees who manage the inland waters of Northern Minnesota; and Canadian Coast Guard partners and the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.
In addition, the Ninth District Coast Guard Auxiliary helps inspect approximately 3,000 privately-owned aids to navigation in the region.