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United States Coast Guard
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Level of Service Studies

Aids to Navigation Level of Service Studies

In 2015, the Coast Guard undertook Level of Service Studies to adapt aids to navigation program policy to best support mariner situational awareness accounting for advances in navigation technologies and looking forward toward future advances.

Purpose: The current aids to navigation design framework needs to be updated to consider technology advances that enable better navigation positioning and increased marine safety information. Therefore, the Coast Guard will review the national levels of service provided to the mariner by the U.S. Aids to Navigation System (USATONS). To determine the appropriate aids to navigation lay down, we must take a systematic and holistic approach that considers stakeholder input, environmental considerations, channel framework, user capabilities, training and carriage, available technology, and available resources. The Office of Navigation Systems (CG-NAV) will lead the necessary analyses to build our Level of Service framework. Ultimately, these Levels of Service will define where and how the Coast Guard will provide aids to navigation to meet today's requirements throughout the U.S. Marine Transportation System.

The studies divided the federal aids to navigation constellation into segments. Three Level of Service Studies have been completed: Atlantic and Gulf Seacoast, Pacific Seacoast, and Western Rivers. A Shallow Waterways study is nearing completion and a Deep Waterways study is planned. These Level of Service Studies focus on providing consistent, program-wide policy necessary to support Coast Guard District Commanders in the execution and management of aids to navigation (ATON) services. The recommendations made in the studies do not determine what individual ATON to add, keep, or remove, but may shape policy for the next generation of waterway system management and design. Coast Guard District Commanders have operational decision-making authority, implementing guidance consistent with local considerations, and in accordance with ATON policy requirements. Questions or Comments related to these studies may be directed to CGNAV@USCG.MIL