The Coast Guard announced today that it is seeking public comment on the draft Pacific Coast Port Access Route Study (PAC-PARS).A Federal Register Notice of Availability for the draft PAC-PARS has opened for comment. Comments and related materials must be received on or before Oct. 25.This is the first comprehensive evaluation of vessel traffic patterns that use Pacific coastal waters off the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington.The main goal of the PAC-PARS is to evaluate historic and future waterway usage to determine navigational risk and provide recommendations to uphold navigation safety. To do this, the study examined vessel tracking data from the past 10 years and considered environmental data, existing and planned offshore development infrastructure, and historical marine incident data among other datasets.
The Coast Guard also considered concerns and recommendations from key maritime stakeholders and members of the public. Prior to this public comment period, the Coast Guard received comments during two previous public comment periods spanning over 200 days.“There has been significant growth of waterway use along the Pacific Coast; we are committed to maintaining a high level of navigational safety for all members of the maritime community,” said Lt. Cmdr. Sara Conrad, activities chief for Coast Guard Pacific Area Port and Facilities. “This draft study provides recommendations that facilitate safe vessel transits along the coast and connect to major port approaches in light of the increasing demand for use of our waterways.”The draft PAC-PARS recommends establishing new voluntary fairways for coastwise and nearshore vessel traffic with connections to existing traffic separation schemes and ports. These fairways would facilitate safe and predictable traffic patterns as the demand for and use of Pacific coastal waters increases. Charts of these recommended fairways can be found in Appendix I, II, and III of the study.
The public can also view the study in a more user-friendly manner at the Coast Guard Navigation Center website https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/port-access-route-study-reports. The Coast Guard posted the study to a Homeport webpage https://cglink.uscg.mil/efedac43 where the most current information about upcoming webinars and outreach activities will be posted.
A Notice of Availability for the draft study was published in the Federal Register under docket USCG-2021-0345, and can be found by searching the docket above at www.regulations.gov