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Ensuring operational safety through real-time current data collection in Port of Juneau, Alaska

Current speed and direction data from the 400 kHz 2D Profiler contribute to public safety and operational simplicity in Port of Juneau, Alaska
How did Port of Juneau officials in Alaska solve safety challenges as increasingly larger cruise ships made port calls to this small port? Reliable current speed and direction data have been key to meeting such challenges.

The large cruise ships arriving at Port of Juneau in Alaska required the construction of larger docks to provide adequate moorage. In doing so, the new docks further restricted the open water where vessels maneuver when arriving and departing the port. This made it more challenging to safely navigate ships in the confined waterway.

In this context, it was important to get reliable current speed and direction data from Nortek’s 400 kHz 2D Profiler to aid in the docking of cruise ships.

Captain Ed Page is Executive Director at Marine Exchange of Alaska, an organization providing services that aid safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible maritime operations.

“The ship pilots and masters desired better information on currents and wind conditions to aid their making informed navigational decisions,”
he says.

He emphasizes that this information is important to compensate for the increased challenges of maneuvering vessels in the port area.

Operational simplicity and cost savings

Captain Page explains how the current speed and direction data from the 400 kHz 2D Profiler contribute to public safety and operational simplicity:

“The current sensors transmit data over a cell network and the Automated Identification System (AIS) to vessel operators to provide them an understanding of the forces of tidal currents that they have to compensate for when maneuvering their vessel in confined waters.”

In addition to helping the understanding of tidal currents, the operational use of this data contributes to quicker, safer and simpler docking of vessels. In turn, this translates to cost savings for both the port and the ship operator.

Setting up a practical solution

How did Port of Juneau officials solve the practical side of setting up such a current monitoring solution? Ed Mayer, Innovative Technology Specialist at Marine Exchange of Alaska, explains:

“Connection of the sensor was straightforward and remote access was achieved using a cellular modem. Setting up went without difficulty.”

Fabrication of the instrument’s mounting bracket was done in a local workshop and divers were used for the installation. Shore power is unavailable during winter, so a wind turbine and batteries were installed to provide power during that period.

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The current sensors have become an essential part of the port’s daily operations, and real-time data collection will continue to be an integral part of the way Port of Juneau is run.

“We are now considering the installation of two additional 400 kHz 2D Profiler sensors,”
Ed Mayer concludes.

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