Patton Bay, Montague Island

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Patton Bay is about 4 miles (6.5 km) wide, located on the southeast coast of Montague Island, about 70 miles (113 km) southeast of Seward, Alaska. The bay was named in 1937 by the U.S. Coast and geodetic Survey for Rear Admiral Raymond Stanton Patton. Patton was the commanding officer of the U.S. Coast and geodetic Survey steamer Explorer in 1914, and he made surveys in Prince William Sound. In 1915, he was appointed chief of the Coast Pilot Section in the Washington Office, and during World War I served as Lieutenant and Lieutenant Commander in the Navy. He was appointed director of the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey in 1929.

The beach in Patton Bay is know to collect vast amounts of stranded marine debris, flotsam and jetsam that may have been adrift at sea for many years. The geomorphology of the shoreline and orientation to prevailing ocean currents are among the important factors determining which beaches collect the most marine debris. In the Gulf of Alaska the major coastal currents are generally counter-clockwise, and beaches facing into the current will typically collect more than beaches facing away. Flat sandy beaches where waves break over a wide surf zone and dissipate energy will collect more than steep rocky beaches where waves reflect from shore. Beaches adjacent to prominent points of land such as Kayak Island, Montague Island, and Gore Point are known to catch and collect the most marine debris.

The greatest volume of debris are logs cut from the coastal forests in the last 50 years. These were assembled into huge rafts or loaded onto barges and towed to sawmills. Many of these rafts and barges were lost during storms, casting the logs adrift to eventually strand onshore. The most persistent marine debris are various plastic products used by the commercial fishing industry. See a short video here, and learn more here, and here. Click here to download the CoastView App and explore more of Patton Bay and Montague Island.