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Here is her office's statement:
PORT ANGELES, WA – On Friday at 10:30 a.m., U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will tour the U.S. Coast Guard’s Air Station in Port Angeles to learn about search and rescue operations. Cantwell also will discuss a need for high-frequency radar stations on Washington state’s coast that would help the Coast Guard locate and respond to missing or distressed boaters.
Cantwell also will meet and thank crew members who rescued a boater Sunday near Neah Bay whose vessel caught fire. The air crew cut through heavy fog to find the man clinging to a life raft after honing in on a signal from his handheld marine radio.
Cantwell will meet with Commander Andrew Eriks, the station’s commanding officer and a Seattle native, and other officials, and tour the operations center and hangar where rescue helicopters are deployed.
Washington state has the largest high-frequency radar gap on the West Coast – with nearly 80 percent of the state’s coastline lacking radar coverage. The Coast Guard uses high frequency radar data in some parts of the country to more accurately predict the location of distressed boaters. High frequency radar stations measure ocean surface currents in real-time, and can be used to model how things such as boats or other objects drift in the ocean.
High-frequency radar is operated by a number of public and private entities. It is made available to the public by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Program, which was authorized as part of legislation that Cantwell cosponsored in 2009.
Cantwell is a member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard Subcommittee. High-frequency radar also can be used to map oil spills and to monitor harmful algae blooms and water quality.
Also listed as participating will be Dr. Jan Newton, executive director of the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems and principal pceanographer for the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory; Dr. Mike Kosro, professor of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences at Oregon State University; and Larry Thevik, vice president of the Washington Dungeness Crab Fishermen’s Association.