One of the challenges for ships on the St. Lawrence Seaway is navigating the waterway's changing water levels. And because the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Seaway system supports so many jobs and businesses, we want to eliminate any threat to safe navigation or unnecessary limit to cargo weight.
Now, the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) has announced a new tool that allows Seaway mariners to manage that challenge.
The Draft Information System is an innovative on-board technology that provides real-time information on actual and projected distance between the lowest point of a vessel--its keel--and the Seaway bottom. The system's more precise clearance measurements and the information it provides on nearby depths will give ships transiting the Seaway a greater ability to change course or take other actions for more effective navigation. This will both reduce the potential for vessel groundings and allow ships to carry more cargo by taking better advantage of water levels, bottom depth, and other changing Seaway conditions.
This is an important improvement not only in maritime safety, but also in Seaway productivity.
Currently, the Great Lakes / Seaway system helps support more than 225,000 jobs resulting in $14.1 billion in personal income each year. It also makes possible annual business revenues of $34 billion and carries more than 322 million metric tons of cargo.
As impressive as those 2010 results are, we know we can do even better by increasing the productive navigability of this binational waterway. And that's exactly what the DIS technology will do.