Coast Guard, NOAA Return Weather Buoy to Service


SITKA, Alaska — Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration personnel repaired NOAA weather data buoy 46084 and returned it to service in Southeast Alaska Tuesday.   

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Maple coordinated with NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center to complete repairs on the buoy, ensure it was functioning correctly and redeploy it 29 miles southwest of Cape Edgecumbe.

“The weather data buoys are of critical importance to the maritime public and coastal residents as they rely upon the information these buoys provide” said Lt. Cmdr. Fred Seaton, commanding officer of the Maple. “The local fishing fleet, recreational fishermen, and mariners all rely on the data provided by the Cape Edgecumbe buoy in order to make informed decisions on where and when to travel, to be safe at sea.”

Buoy 46084 is one of 252 stations currently deployed in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and monitored by the NDBC. It measures and transmits air and sea temperatures, wind speed and direction, wave height, wave direction and period, as well as barometric pressure changes every ten minutes.  

The Maple’s crew retrieved buoy 46084 in September 2012 after it spent six days adrift in the Gulf of Alaska. The buoy was located about 10 miles off station, still transmitting data. The Coast Guard and NOAA have a long history of working cooperatively throughout the nation and particularly in Alaska to service NDBC buoys. In 2011 Maple’s crew repaired two weather buoys in Southeast Alaska. Also in 2011, the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR, a sister ship to Maple, serviced and replaced weather buoys in the Bering Sea near Adak Island. In 2010 the Roanoke Island, a 110-foot Island-class patrol boat, recovered a drifting weather buoy near Homer.

“For more than 40 years the U.S. Coast Guard and the NOAA National Data Buoy Center have worked together to operate and maintain the backbone of our nation’s marine buoy network” said Shannon McArthur, program manager of the NOAA National Data Buoy Center.  “The repair of the Cape Edgecumbe buoy is another great example of this successful longstanding federal agency partnership.”

The information provided by these weather buoys assists the National Weather Service in developing weather reports in Alaska and nationwide. During the deployment of the buoy, National Weather Service forecast personnel from Juneau and Anchorage provided specialized forecast support to help ensure the success of the mission. NOAA’s NWS and NDBC can be accessed online.

The Coast Guard Cutter Maple, homeported in Sitka, is one of four 225-foot seagoing buoy tenders stationed in Alaska. The crew’s primary mission is managing aids to navigation. They also conduct search and rescue, law enforcement and pollution response operations.

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