March 2017 Commerce Club

By Judith Schultz, GHPB

Michael Emerson, director of Marine Transportation Systems at the U.S. Coast Guard headquarters, entertained the audience at the March 9 Commerce Club luncheon at Brady’s Landing with his humor and personal anecdotes. Emerson focused on what may be on the horizon for inland marine infrastructure, regulation and security, although he admitted plans could alter rapidly as the new presidential administration rolls out changes.
Emerson described the increased use and benefits of digital navigation on the inland waterways. “You can get real time info on the fly,” explained Emerson, adding that digital tools quickly update to show traffic, weatherand hazards. The Electronic Marine Safety Information (eMSI) web application makes marine data from multiple federal agencies available in a single location. Using the applications map interface, users can view marine travel notices from the Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration — as well as Inland Electronic Navigation Charts and other static marine datasets, such a buoy, dock, and lock and dam locations.
Emerson also mentioned the valuable progress of the Digital Lightship initiative. These transmitting platforms aboard Coast Guard cutters can act as virtual aids to navigation, enabling the USCG to provide safety and navigation information in austere locations and to quickly reopen ports following disasters. “If you can find a channel, we can virtually mark it,” he stated.
During the close of his talk and the following Q & A session, Emerson touched on variety of topics, including maritime cyber security, infrastructure budget and regulation/de-regulation measures. He indicated, however, that it would be premature to stipulate intentions and that assessment of policy was an important part of the process. “We don’t want to paint the brownwater industry with a bluewater paint brush,” said Emerson.
Editor’s Note: Anthony C. Chovanec, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Products Partners, L.P., will be the guest speaker for the Commerce Club on May 11, 2017. Individual seats and table sponsorships are available. Reserve your seat at or by calling (713) 678-4300.

  • Date April 18, 2017
  • Tags April 2017