COAST GUARD STATION OAK ISLAND, N.C. -- A group of U.S. Marines with 2nd Intelligence Battalion joined with U.S. Coast Guardsmen this week to survey waters past the piers of Coast Guard Station Oak Island, N.C., Aug. 29 to Sep. 2, 2016.
At the station, the Coast Guard is responsible for identifying and fixing navigational discrepancies, though they do not always have access to the technology needed to do so. Roughly six Marines traveled to Oak Island to make this mission possible.
Coast Guard Seaman Gerald Ihnken, a crew member of a Trailerable Aids-to-Navigation Boat, said the Marines played a role in helping to survey channels and mark depths, as well as mark the area for other boaters.
“It helps us maintain readiness,” said Ihnken. “We keep channels and waterways marked, and the Marines mapped the bottom of the water ways so that we can mark them and move safely wherever we need to go.”
The Marines used a variety of technology such as a transducer, Global Positioning System unit, side-scan sound navigation and ranging, and digibar, to collect information in the water. Their findings were put together to form a topographical layout of waterways that were previously unidentifiable. The new maps will correct navigation discrepancies such as off-station buoys or extinguished lights.
“The biggest take away is being able to say that the work we are doing is meaningful and has a use in the real world,” said Cpl. Luke Dennis, a geographic intelligence specialist with Battlefield Surveillance Company, 2nd Intelligence Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
Dennis, along with five other Marines within the battalion, sailed with the Coast Guardsmen to survey the water, as well as track down a shipwreck.
“The products we give to the Coast Guard directly affect their mission response times, and their future planning,” said Dennis. “They are also given to Mariners in the area so they can safely navigate the water ways.”