The Importance of Communication in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Washington
The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary (OCNMS) was established to protect natural and cultural resources from the danger of large-vessel oil spills.
Courtesy: Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
Members from the sanctuary shared results of the oil spill risk studies and discussed an "Area to Be Avoided" (ATBA) proposal with representatives of all stakeholders. Compliance was voluntary. Interviews were held with representatives and stakeholders with the purpose of creating educational materials.
Methods, Tools, and Data
Sanctuary staff members conducted 28 personal interviews with representatives from U.S. federal, state, local, and tribal governments, as well as the shipping industry, ports, mariners, environmental groups, and the public.
The sanctuary tracked vessel routes using radar data and geographic information system (GIS) technology both within and around the area of the sanctuary. Vessels that did not comply with the ATBA were contacted and provided with educational materials.
Discussion of Results
- With the help of stakeholder interviews, educational flyers were generated describing why vessels should avoid the area (i.e., to avoid risk of groundings and oil spills), as well as the natural and cultural characteristics of the sanctuary
- Vessels and shipping companies responded favorably to communications from the sanctuary staff. Voluntary compliance has been very high
- Educational efforts and "friendly reminders" have increased the effectiveness of the ATBA and the levels of compliance. There is currently a 90 to 95 percent compliance rate
Books and Publications
NOAA Coastal Services Center. 2001. "Maritime Safety a Priority in Washington Sanctuary." Coastal Services. July/August 2001
Map of the "Area to Be Avoided" at the OCNMS
Map for pilots and ship captains of an area to be avoided off the Washington coast.
NOAA and Coast Guard Gain Approval for Greater Ship Safety along Olympic Coast
Press release from July 2001 describing the justification for enlarging the "Area to be Avoided."
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
Home page for the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Covers research, education, and outreach at the sanctuary. Comprehensive maps, photos, and species lists are also provided.