This week you might have seen a ship with a black hull and a red stripe sitting seemingly motionless in the river, unlike most vessels that are on a journey form one port to another. If you’d been able to get a closer look at that ship, you’d have seen people hard at work on an important project.

The ship was the USCG Cutter Elm, a buoy tender, maintaining and repairing navigational buoys in the river. It’s essential work that saves lives, but goes largely unnoticed by those of us on land.