Tanapag Wave Buoy Back in the Water


Tanapag Wave Buoy Back in the Water

On May 10th, PacIOOS redeployed its wave buoy outside of Tanapag, Saipan. The yellow buoy is located about 5 miles offshore and provides valuable wave and ocean information. Data on wave height, direction, and period, as well as sea surface temperature are transmitted in real-time and are publicly available online.

The Tanapag wave buoy broke free from its mooring during Super Typhoon Yutu in October 2018 and was adrift for more than 6 weeks. Approximately 800 nautical miles into the Philippine Sea, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sequoia, stationed in Guam, recovered the buoy in challenging ocean conditions while patrolling the high seas.

“We are so grateful for the U.S. Coast Guard’s support and effort to recover the drifting wave buoy. Without their partnership, we would have lost this important ocean observing instrument. The buoy is now back on station and we are excited to continue to provide high quality data to our stakeholders in Saipan and the region,” says PacIOOS Director Melissa Iwamoto.

The Tanapag wave buoy is one of three PacIOOS wave buoys in the Mariana Islands; the other two are located off Ritidian Point and Ipan in Guam. Wave buoy data benefit a large variety of ocean users, agency officials, and community members to make safe decisions. Fishermen, surfers, commercial tour operators, and many others regularly check the data to get a better understanding of the ocean conditions.

NOAA’s National Weather Service Forecast Office in Guam utilizes all available wave buoy data to assess current conditions, generate forecasts, and formulate advisories and warnings to ensure public safety. “Waves can change dramatically in time and location so it is vital to have buoys in good strategic locations around the islands in order to be able to see approaches from all directions,” says Roger Edson, Science and Operations Officer at the Forecast Office.

To keep the buoy operational, ocean users are kindly asked to carefully navigate around the wave buoy, refrain from tying to the equipment, and avoid fishing within 100 yards to minimize entanglement in the mooring line.

Special thanks to Captain Don Dunlop for helping with the redeployment of the wave buoy! PacIOOS owns and operates a network of 15 real-time wave buoys across the Pacific Islands. Data streaming for the PacIOOS wave buoys is made possible through long-term partnerships with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Coastal Data Information Program (CDIP).

Recent Posts

Did you know?

PacIOOS is the first regional association that was certified as a Regional Information Coordination Entity (RICE) by the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). Certification provides NOAA and its interagency partners a means to verify that a regional association’s organizational and operational practices, including data management, meet recognized and established standards set by NOAA.