US Coast Guard Navigation Center Alexandria
7323 Telegraph Rd., Alexandria, VA 20598
US Coast Guard Navigation Center Alexandria provides the most advanced techniques and technologies when it comes to navigational systems. It supports all missions conducted by the US Coast Guard and it is the most advanced center of its kind in all the military forces in the United States.
NAVCEN supports the U.S. Aids to Navigation Information Management System (USAIMS) and Integrated Aids to Navigation Information System (Legacy IATONIS) databases that serve as the official record of all USCG and private aids to navigation aids to navigation (ATON).
They provide oversight to the 48,000 aides, buoys and fixed structures that the Coast Guard maintains and manages – to help provide safe and navigable waterways.
The legacy IATONIS system produces the weekly and annual Light List which is available for downloading from the NAVCEN website. USCG District offices use IATONIS to create a weekly ‘Local Notice to Mariners’, which is also available to download from the NAVCEN website. Coast Guard ATON units — such as the inland waterway and ocean going buoy tenders – use USAIMS to update the status and condition of the aids when they inspect and service them. The Coast Guard plans to migrate functionality from the legacy IATONIS system to USAIMS to create one integrated application for all ATON activities.
Most mariners – including weekend pleasure boaters – are familiar with ‘notices to mariners’ and just about everyone has seen a lighthouse or one of the ‘aids to navigation’ that mark channels or warn of shoal water. The NAVCEN manages those local notices to mariners (LNMs) notices, and promulgates them through a broad public distribution system. LNMs can warn mariners about hazards such as a buoy that is off station, a light that is extinguished, an abandoned vessel, or a recent change to a navigational chart – as well as announce safety and security zones. With the widening of the Panama Canal, larger Post-Panamax ships are now calling at East Coast ports – which have been dredged to accommodate them. That means charts need to be updated with the new depths or navigational markers repositioned.
Mariners and pleasure boaters can also report discrepancies using the Coast Guard Boating Safety mobile app.
NAVCEN works with the Department of Transportation and the Committee on Marine Transportation Systems to coordinate activities and is part of the ‘Future of Navigation’ working group. The center works with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency – which are responsible for coastal, inland, international and military-related charts.
Arriving at US Coast Guard Navigation Center Alexandria
NAVCEN is located at the Coast Guard base at the Telecommunication and Information Systems Command (TISCOM). To get to NAVCEN, once you are on the base, continue down the main road straight. The last brick building on the right.
From Richmond, VA:
Go North on Interstate 95. Take exit 166 (Newington, Fairfax County Parkway) and go South on the Fairfax County Parkway. Take the Telegraph Road exit and turn left at the light after exiting. Continue on Telegraph Road for a few miles. You will pass the Telegraph Road entrance to Fort Belvoir, and then about 1/2 a mile later, Hayfield High School. TISCOM will be 2 blocks away on your right after you pass Hayfield High School.
From Interstate 95/495, take Exit 176A (Telegraph Road), Rte 611 South. TISCOM is approximately five miles and will be on your left