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Diving Deeper Shorts: Navigation Response Teams

Episode 14 (Oct. 6, 2011)

HOST: Today on Diving Deeper Shorts, we revisit our interview on NOAA's navigation response teams from May 2010 with Commander Larry Krepp of the Office of Coast Survey. Navigation response teams are three-person mobile emergency response units equipped and trained to survey waterways immediately following a hurricane.

Let's listen in to the interview.

HOST: What types of emergencies do the navigation response teams support?

COMMANDER KREPP: As I mentioned before, probably our bread and butter if you will, are hurricane responses. Aside from natural disaster, hurricane-type responses, we do receive various requests from agencies for anything from ship groundings, ship sinkings. Aside from that it's mostly anything having a navigational concern. The statement that I generally make is our teams are there to respond to anything that has the potential for impacting the marine commerce transportation system that we have in the country.

HOST: Let's focus a little bit on the hurricane response that you've talked about. When do the teams typically arrive on the scene? Are they considered almost like a first responder after an event?

COMMANDER KREPP: They are. Again noting, we do make sure the area's safe. We generally mobilize within 24 hours and we're on scene within 48. We may or may not be able to begin survey at that point, but it certainly allows us to get together and meet with the Coast Guard and the port authority, actually have the people on the ground help direct us to where our services would best be used.

HOST: Commander Krepp, what is a day like for your staff responding after a hurricane?

COMMANDER KREPP: Probably the most dramatic of our hurricane responses was in response to Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. That was a little different for us in that it was a very long response. A good amount of our responses only have a duration of maybe two days to a week.

The Katrina response went on for months and we had multiple vessels in there and there were multiple government agencies. The infrastructure there was pretty well decimated, so it was a fantastic U.S. team effort to one be able to provide the pure necessities of things like fuel, water, food, and shelter for all of the responders down in that area. But we surveyed various ports in conjunction with the Corps of Engineers and were able to relatively quickly establish some of the shipping lanes to allow things to go.

That's all for today's Diving Deeper Shorts, where we highlight a few minutes of your favorite Diving Deeper episodes.

Want to learn more? Go to and select the May 2010 podcast archive to listen to the full interview with Commander Krepp on navigation response teams.

You can catch the next episode of Diving Deeper in two weeks.