The US Coast Guard is requesting public comments regarding the potential establishment of an anchorage ground in an area referred to by mariners as the “Ambrose anchorage,” which is an offshore area that has been used by ships awaiting inshore anchorages or berths. The area is located in the approaches to New York, approximately 3 nautical miles south of Long Beach, New York, and just north of the Nantucket to Ambrose Traffic Lane. The Coast Guard is considering formally establishing an anchorage ground at this location, possibly with regulations governing its use, if doing so will improve navigation safety and enhance safe and efficient flow of vessel traffic and commerce. The Coast Guard is seeking comments on the benefits and impacts of establishing a regulated anchorage ground, and if so, what types of requirements should be considered for the Coast Guard oversight of the anchorage ground.
To help inform the public comment process, the Northeast Ocean Data Portal, in collaboration with the USCG, has added a map layer representing the region of interest for the potential establishment of the Ambrose anchorage ground. In the Data Explorer table of contents, it is listed under Marine Transportation > Navigation > Proposed Areas and Studies.
For information about public meetings and how to submit public comment, see the Federal Register Notice. Comments and related material must be received by the Coast Guard on or before June 1, 2021.
Currently, ships going to or from the ports of New York and New Jersey anchor in unregulated areas located in the approaches to New York north of the Nantucket to Ambrose Traffic Lane. Vessels may be anchoring in this area for a broad range of purposes. Within recent years, members of the New York Harbor Safety, Navigation and Operations Committee have raised concerns about how potential wind energy leases or the routing of associated transmission cables might conflict with traditional unregulated anchorage grounds, thereby preventing their continued use. Regulated anchorage grounds are available within the port of New York and New Jersey. These anchorage ground regulations were last revised in January 2015 to establish and modify anchorage grounds to support port demands and enhance navigation safety. For more information, see the published Final Rule.
Other important studies and relevant information include:
- The multiyear Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study (ACPARS) that analyzed the Atlantic Coast waters seaward of existing port approaches within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone and identified key alongshore navigation routes customarily followed by ships engaged in commerce between U.S. ports from New York and New Jersey to the Florida Straits.
- The 2020 advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) titled Shipping Safety Fairways Along the Atlantic Coast (85 FR 37034, June 19, 2020) seeking comments regarding the possible establishment of a system of shipping safety fairways (“fairways”) along the Atlantic Coast of the United States identified as navigation safety corridors in the ACPARS.
- The 2020 notice of study announcing the Northern New York Bight Port Access Route Study (NNYBPARS) 85 FR 38907, June 29, 2020) to obtain comments regarding the adequacy of existing vessel routing measures and to determine whether additional vessel routing measures are necessary for port approaches to New York and New Jersey and other port approaches in the First Coast Guard District area of responsibility.
- Federal Register Notice – Proposed Ambrose Anchorage Area