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13th Coast Guard District
915 Second Ave
Seattle, WA 98174
(800) 982-8813

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(800) 982-8813 x7015

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Waterways Management Branch


new AIS (Automatic Identification System) Aids to Navigation

AIS Aid to Navigation (IEC 62320-2)

Shore-based or mobile station providing location and status of an aid to navigation (ATON). Normally reports (message 21) every three minutes or less. These stations may also broadcast Application Specific Messages (message 6/8). Federal AIS ATON Stations and the messages they broadcast are listed in the USCG Light List.

Note: Current U.S. regulations (33 CFR 66.01-1) prohibit the authorization of electronic aids to navigation (ATON) as private aids--other than racons or radars. The Coast Guard is in the process of amending these regulations to permit the authorization and use of AIS ATON's as private aids to navigation; until this accomplished the Coast Guard will not be accepting or approving any private (non-Federal) USCG AIS Aton Applications. Further, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will not grant licensing to an AIS ATON station without prior approval from the Coast Guard.

Information can be found in the Coast Guard Special Notice regarding their use of AIS ATONs.

For more in depth information regarding the AIS system used in the United States click here to visit the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Centers AIS (Automatic Identification System) overview.

The following information can be found below:
  • Informational Documents about PATON
  • Regulatory Changes allowing LED Lighting Equipment
  • Contact the 13th Coast Guard District PATON Manager

The Thirteenth Coast Guard District is responsible for the permitting of all Private Aids to Navigation (PATON) locate in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.  Private Aids to Navigation (PATON) include lighted structures and daybeacons, lighted and unlighted buoys, RACONs and fog signals, which are installed and maintained by anyone other than the Coast Guard. There are over 1000 privately operated and maintained aids to navigation in the Thirteenth Coast Guard District. This includes all waters under Federal jurisdiction in Oregon, Washington, Montana and Idaho. Owners of these private aids include marinas, yacht clubs, municipal and state governments, construction and dredging companies, research and non-profit organizations, beach front associations, large industrial concerns and individuals.  In order to establish a Private aid(s) on navigable waters regulated by the federal government, you are required to obtain either a Coast Guard permit or Coast Guard letter of no objection. To obtain an application for a permit, form CG-2554, contact the 13th Coast Guard District PATON Manager.

Non-commercial, single-boat, mooring buoys normally do not require a Coast Guard permit, provided they do not cause more than a minimal adverse effect on navigation and display the standard markings. The same is true of most information and regulatory marks, such as swim buoys, no-wake buoys, and race course buoys. For these the Coast Guard issues a letter of no objection. Owners contemplating establishing such buoys should also contact the Army Corps of Engineers, their State Authority, usually the Department of Natural Resources, to determine what additional state and local requirements may exist.

The Thirteenth Coast Guard District PATON Manager will provide applicants with assistance in processing their paperwork. Assist the applicant in interpreting Federal regulations governing private aids to navigation. Provide the applicant with copies of their previously issued permits (Note: Approved PATON application are considered a legal document and should maintained on file with the applicant). In addition sample illustrations showing standard markings for private aids to navigation, and lists of commercial ATON manufacturers are available. Please contact the 13th Coast Guard District PATON Manager for further information and assistance.

Owners are reminded of their responsibility for the proper operation and maintenance of their private aids to navigation. When owners receive discrepancy reports from the Coast Guard, they are obligated to take immediate action to correct the discrepancy. Mariners are reminded that they have a responsibility to report discrepant private aids to the nearest Coast Guard unit. All marine aids to navigation within the Thirteenth Coast Guard District area of responsibility, both private and federally maintained, are user monitored. The failure of a mariner to report a discrepant marine aid to navigation may result in casualties to others. The Coast Guard issues broadcast notice to mariners for reported discrepancies which remain in effect until the discrepancy is corrected or is published in the Local Notice to Mariners.

The links found on this page explain the Thirteenth Coast Guard Districts Private Aids to Navigation (PATON) Program.  You will find the required form (CG-2554) for submitting your application. Information on Federal Regulations and sources of supply for your private navigation markers is also available here. If you have any questions about Private Aids to Navigation Program, please contact us using the information found in section IV below.

Informational Documents
  1. (pdf)(133kb) Handout: Helps explain the U.S. Coast Guard PATON program.  Includes a list of companies that sell PATON products.
  2. (pdf)(1mb) Booklet: Helps to explain the U.S. Aids to Navigation System and the standardized waterway marking system.
  3. (pdf)(58kb) 33 CFR Part 62: Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations Part 62, United States Aids to Navigation System.
  4. (pdf)(58kb) 33 CFR Part 66: Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations Part 66, Private Aids to Navigation.
  5. (pdf)(253kb) CG-2554: United States Coast Guard Private Aids to Navigation Application Form.
  6. (pdf)(22kb) PATON Guide:  Helps to explain the PATON approval process.
  7. (pdf)(23kb) Mooring Buoy Guide: Helps to explain the Mooring Buoy approval process.
  8. (pdf)(23kb) Government Agency Guide:  Helps give guidance as to which government agencies to talk to in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.
  9. New tag (pdf)(321kb) Fillable PATON Application Questionnaire:  Complete and submit so a PATON permit may be drafted for you.


PATON Assignment List
All Assignment District Assignments CGC FIR Assignments
Sector North Bend Sector Columbia River Sector Puget Sound
Regulatory Changes allowing LED Lighting Equipment
LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting equipment has been approved for use as PATON as of March 08, 2004. If you are considering installing a light please contact the 13th Coast Guard District PATON Manager before purchasing your lighting equipment. For more information regarding this regulatory change, and others, review this document from the Federal Register (pdf)(54kb) frvol68no23508dec03.
For information about PATON located within the 13th Coast Guard District (Washington and Oregon) contact the PATON Manager.
Commander (dpw)
13th Coast Guard District
915 2nd Avenue, Room 3510
Seattle, WA.  98174-1067
Attn: PATON Manager
Phone 206-220-7285
Fax 206-220-7265

PATON Verification Forms and List
Division-1 Division-2 Division-3
Division-4 Division-5 Division-6
Division-7 Division-8 PATON Verification List
Lighted buoy Report all discrepancies with marine aids to navigation to the
 nearest Coast Guard Sector office!
Astoria (503) 861-6212 / North Bend (541) 756-9212 / Seattle (206) 217-6002

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Last Modified 1/28/2015