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NOAA Surveys Cobscook Bay Area 

Maine’s Cobscook Bay has proven to be a deadly place for fishermen in recent years.So, for the first time in a long time, surveys are being done of the ocean floor in the bay to see what hazards may lie beneath the surface.Meghan hayward boarded the survey boat Tuesday.Since December 2008, there have been seven fishing-related deaths in Maine’s Cobscook Bay.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been called in by maine fishing communities to conduct surveys of the area. “The survey consists of collecting a base layer data of the Cobscook Bay and surrounding areas around Eastport to update the nautical map.”The team will look for dangers to navigation. “By our definition if we’re in less than 20 meters of water it’s anything that’s up a meter or more from the bottom. So that could be a wreck, rock or it could be anything.”The primary areas NOAA will survey this year were last surveyed in the 19th Century.The team says the survey technology at that time is vastly different than the equipment they’re able to use today. “Back then it was leadline. A semi-ridgid line with a leaded bottom. They would position themselves horizontally using shore stations and they would take occasional soundings just drop the lead line and mark how deep it was.”Today’s team uses a multi-beam sonar. “Which allows for a full bottom coverage so as opposed to taking a singular point of data across the survey area where we’re collecting various points and there’s nothing on the bottom we don’t see.”Despte the technology they had to work with in the 19th Century, the modern-day team says their predecessors did a fantastic job. ” We’re finding the current nautical chart is very accurate. Especially as far as the shoreline is concerned.”When the team comes back ashore they upload all their data.Sometimes they may have to revisit an area. ” We try to get full coverage but for all sorts of reasons we may leave little gaps here and there. We call them holidays. So we would come back later and fill those holidays in to make sure we get full bottom coverage.”The team expects t0 be in Eastport until the Fall.They say it all depends on the weather and they will return next Spring if necessary.