The Big Picture
image of compass rose
Mariners have navigated to and from the Chesapeake Bay since the early days of our nation. Today, the Bay remains a major transportation artery of the United States—containing some of the nation's largest sea ports, airports, railroad hubs, and interstates. In order for ships to navigate safely through the Bay and the U.S. Marine Transportation System, NOAA relies on its newest research vessel—Bay Hydro II—to identify hazards to navigation and collect data needed to keep NOAA nautical charts up-to-date.