Sen. Maria Cantwell to tour Port Angeles Coast Guard base

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell will be in Port Angeles today to tour the Coast Guard base.

She will discuss a need for high-frequency coastal radar stations and thank the Coast Guard crew that rescued a boater whose vessel caught fire near Neah Bay on Sunday, her office said.

Cantwell, D-Mountlake Terrace, will meet with Cmdr. Andrew Eriks, commanding officer of Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles, and other officials at 10:30 a.m.

Cantwell will tour the Coast Guard operations center and hangar on Ediz Hook where rescue helicopters are deployed.

Joining the tour will be Jan Newton, executive director of the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems and principal oceanographer for the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory; 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.

Cantwell will talk about how high-frequency radar stations along the coast would help the Coast Guard locate and respond to vessels in distress.

Boater rescued

Last Sunday, the Coast Guard rescued the skipper of the Dawn Trader, a 25-foot pleasure craft that caught fire in thick fog and sank about 4 miles north of Neah Bay.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Port Angeles located him in a partially submerged life raft near the burning boat.

The man, who was not identified by the Coast Guard, was treated for hypothermia.

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, according to Cantwell's office.

Washington state has the largest high-frequency radar gap on the West Coast. Nearly 80 percent of the coastline lacks radar coverage.

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 co-sponsored in 2009.

High-frequency radar also can be used to map oil spills and monitor harmful algae blooms and water quality.

Cantwell is a member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard Subcommittee.

Last modified: August 08. 2014 4:56PM
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