>An Aids to Navigation Birds Nest

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Coast Guard Cutter ELM got an unexpected surprise when servicing Wimble Shoal Lighted Buoy 10 off Cape Hatteras on 29 December 2010.  Two hundred feet of chain and an 18,000 lb sinker lost at some point in the past had become entangled with the current 300 foot buoy mooring. 

ELM had to combine the modern features of the 225 ft cutter’s weight handling equipment – and old-fashioned techniques from 1940’s era tenders – to untangle the mooring, recover both sinkers, and reset the aid back on station.

The pictures depict the buoy deck team of the ELM using the old-fashioned technique of picking chain.  The modern AtoN fleet is equipped with Chain In-haul winches which lead this technique to be less commonly used.