Who is Al Cattalini?

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Alvin Cattalini

Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, retired

Al Cattalini brought a lifetime of maritime experience to his consulting clients. He was a ferryboat deckhand at age 16, earned his first deck license at 18 and worked his way through college on inland and coastal tugboats and passenger vessels. Upon graduation with a degree in economics he entered the U.S. Coast Guard. During the next thirty years, Cattalini served in an unprecedented number and variety of navigation safety and waterways management assignments as he rose to top leadership positions. After leaving active Coast Guard service in 1993 he continued his professional leadership as an independent maritime consultant until his retirement in 2010.

Field Experience

While navigating or commanding four seagoing buoy tenders, he planned, established and maintained aids to navigation from the Gulf of Alaska and the California coast to the Hawaiian Islands and Micronesia. Ashore, he directed the operation of buoy tenders, lighthouses, lightships, radiobeacons, and loran and omega stations and commanded a vessel traffic service (VTS). He conducted site surveys and designed improved, state of the art systems for ports and waterways.

Regional Leadership

He directed aids to navigation operations for the Mississippi-Ohio-Missouri River navigation system, a vast 6,000 mile (10,000 kilometer) waterway network marked by some 10,000 buoys and 4,000 beacons requiring frequent relocation to mark shifting channels and fluctuating water depths. He commanded the San Francisco Vessel Traffic Service, facilitating vessel safety in an area of adverse environmental conditions and complex traffic. He also directed aids to navigation operations throughout the Southeastern U.S. and in the Caribbean.

National Leadership

In three Washington, D.C. assignments Cattalini developed and implemented U.S. aids to navigation policy, directed the national system of buoys, beacons, lighthouses and other signals as well as buoy tenders and other servicing facilities, then directed the national programs for navigation safety and waterways management. In these assignments he directed marking of U.S. ports and waterways and introduced technological and operational innovations. He published Light Lists and Notices to Mariners, and managed rules of the road and navigation safety regulations. In addition to domestic aids to navigation he oversaw U.S. vessel traffic services, global Loran-C and Omega systems, civil GPS interface, DGPS installation, navigation rules, electronic charts, search and rescue, bridges, boating safety, and domestic and polar icebreaking. After leaving active Coast Guard service he was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to serve on the Navigation Safety Advisory Council. Domestic consulting assignments included analysis of the navigation safety impacts of a proposed container transshipment complex, assisting the State of Oregon in its successful New Carissa lawsuit, evaluating safety considerations of a proposed facility at the Port of San Francisco, developing proposed aids to navigation improvements at Bahía de Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, testifying in admiralty proceedings on the adequacy of aids to navigation in Mobile Bay, Alabama and Tampa Bay, Florida, and, in the aftermath of 9-11, helping develop port vulnerability assessment methodology for the U.S. Coast Guard.

International Impact

Captain Cattalini has had global impact. He represented the United States in the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). He worked with Marshall Islands villagers and United Nations officials to establish and maintain aids to navigation to meet local Micronesian needs. Foreign students learned loran and radar operation and maintenance at a training center he headed. He designed a modern aids to navigation system for Diego Garcia (Chagos Archipelago) in the Indian Ocean. He assisted VTS planning for Hong Kong and Japan. To share advances in buoy tending technology, he sailed aboard buoy tenders in Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Sweden. He facilitated opportunities for host nation ownership of loran stations in Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Spain and Turkey. As an independent consultant he has reviewed aids to navigation systems in Egypt, Mexico, Panama, Pakistan, and Papua New Guinea, assisted planning a major river navigation project in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay and participated in VTS projects in Belize, Columbia, Egypt, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Pakistan, Taiwan and Turkey.

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Highlights of Educational and Professional Credentials

Captain Alvin Cattalini




Formerly Registered Individual Consultant

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U.S. Coast Guard Experience

Captain Alvin Cattalini

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