>Each year in accordance with the Light List, Aids to Navigation units throughout the Fifth District make preparations for the colder weather and the possibility of ice formation on the waterways. Floating Aids to Navigation that have been identified at risk to ice exposure are replaced by hulls that are specifically designed to be exposed to ice.

CGC JAMES RANKIN sailed from her homeport (Baltimore, MD) early on November 29th to begin preparations their seasonal reliefs on the Upper Chesapeake Bay and tributaries. The crew’s mission: relieve the standard lighted buoys and set ice buoys in their place. LCDR Mark Palmer, Commanding Officer CGC JAMES RANKIN, along with Mr. Aaron Heiner, USCG Auxiliary, provided a photo diary of the crews’ hard work.

Photo Credits: Aaron Heiner – USCG Auxiliary

Yes that is the BMC/First Lieutenant washing the critters off the buoys, doing one of his favorite things. He enjoys the buoy deck work so much the crew knows to not even try to take the hose away from him

Operating the crane and cross decks requires strict attention.

Aids to Navigation is an all hands on deck evolution. The EOW’s keep the plant fully operational and occasionally take time out for a lollipop!

Part of the buoy deck crew pose for a “Nikon moment”

Ice hull #4 for the day is safely deployed.

BM3 Sepulveda briefs the bridge team on the approaching buoy and stands by to operate the positioning computer.

BM1 Becker has the Deck and Conn piloting the JAMES RANKIN from homeport to the first buoy of the day.