Safer Boating Through Smart Technology

By BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety & Clean Water

Lake Erie boaters can get real-time info on weather, water, and wave conditions thanks to a BoatUS Foundation grant.

Weather, water, and wave data being collected by the Northshore buoyA Grassroots Grant from the BoatUS Foundation helped bring weather, water, and wave data being collected by the Northshore buoy to local and visiting boaters in the Great Lakes.

Thousands of local and visiting recreational boaters on the Great Lakes benefit from access to real-time data collected from the Nearshore buoy system, thanks to a Grassroots Grant from the BoatUS Foundation.

This "smart buoy," launched in the Pennsylvania waters of Lake Erie in May 2014, provides information on local weather, water, and wave conditions. This information helps boaters make more informed decisions, ultimately helping to reduce the loss of life as well as minimize negative impact from coastal storms.

Funds received through the BoatUS Foundation allowed the Regional Science Consortium (RSC) to build the website as well as design promotional materials to create community awareness and promote use of the buoy for safe-boating practices. The nonprofit RSC focuses on and coordinates educational and research projects for Lake Erie and the upper Ohio River Basin.

The Nearshore buoy, located off Presque Isle State Park, measures 17 different parameters using a weather station, accelerometer (wave meter), and water quality sonde (monitoring platform), all of which give an accurate picture of present conditions and contribute to more precise weather forecasts. In addition, a video camera on the buoy captures 10-second video clips and posts them to the website hourly.

Users can track data and subscribe to notifications about this project by downloading the LIVE Datacenter app for Apple or Google devices. Select "Regional Science Consortium" from the project list.

The buoy project was honored with a 2015 Pennsylvania Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence, which is awarded to state businesses or organizations that complete projects promoting environmental stewardship and economic development. The winners are selected by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. 

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