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Maneuvering in Confined Waterways

The following anecdote illustrates one value of real-time current information.

A harbor pilot bringing a large ship into Tampa Bay needed to execute a 90 degree turn about half way up the Bay in order to follow the required channel to the ship's destination port. For various reasons the ship failed to respond and so failed to make the turn. Before the days of real-time information this pilot would have had no choice but to proceed all the way up the Bay to a turning basin, come back down the Bay to its mouth, re-enter the Bay and try again with the resulting forfeiture of ship productivity, crew overtime, docking fees and schedules. However, with the real-time knowledge of the currents under the ship's keel at the moment the turn failed, the pilot could confidently instruct the tug boats and ship's crew to back the ship down, re-enter the turn and proceed to the dock on schedule.

Revised: 08/08/2018
NOAA / National Ocean Service
Web site owner: Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services