The International SeaKeepers Society has worked toward providing data to researchers since its inception in 1998. Different initiatives, projects and partnerships have developed over the years. The latest involves the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Suppliers and Drifters. Buoyant globes approximately the size of basketballs are attached to drogues that drop 49 feet (15 meters) below the surface. Data collection devices and transmitters built into the Drifter relay a wealth of information via satellite to NOAA including sea-surface temperature, current velocity, the buoy’s GPS location, time and day and compass heading.
The numerous devices all over the globe give NOAA the ability to better predict weather patterns and brewing storms as well as give researchers a better grasp of ocean currents and debris fields. For example, NOAA created the map pictured here on June 10 using data gathered in a single afternoon to show current sea temperatures. The deeper blue indicates cooler temperatures while the orange is warmer waters. The International SeaKeepers Society and National Marine Suppliers are working to make SeaKeeper Drifters available to yacht owners for the first time. While NOAA has many devices within normal shipping lanes, there is still much of the ocean to cover, places commercial vessels don’t go.
The Drifters operate for between nine to 18 months once deployed (depending on conditions the device meets) and NOAA hopes to see an additional 1,000 devices dropped each year outside of commercial ports and lanes. The SeaKeeper Drifter buoy weighs just 40 pounds (18.1 kilograms) and measures 15.5 inches (39.5 centimeters) in diameter. The drogue measures about 17.4 feet (nearly 5.3 meters) and is two feet (6.6 meters) in diameter. Any costs associated with participation are tax deductible through SeaKeeper’s non-profit is a 501(c)(3) status.
For more information:seakeepers.org