Quileute Tribe deploys first buoy of Backyard Buoys program

Sofar Ocean

This blog post was written by the Backyard Buoys team — view a full list of the program's partners here.
Backyard Buoys makes a splash! Our first buoy was deployed by the Quileute Tribe on May 3, 2023. This buoy will be out for a short deployment to test mooring design and data collection modes in the spring wave conditions off La Push, WA. Quileute Tribe fishers leaving La Push harbor must navigate wave conditions at the Quillayute River mouth and do not have a clear view of the wave conditions past James Island. Local implementation of the Backyard Buoys program will provide them with real-time wave data to support critical go/no-go decisions.

Top: Image of waters off of La Push, WA (Credit: U.S. Coast Guard); Bottom left: Sofar Spotter buoy deployment off a Quileute Tribe vessel (Credit: John Mickett, University of Washington); Bottom right: Spotter buoy in 34 m water about 2 miles off La Push, WA (Credit: Jennifer Hagen, Quileute Tribe)

Our real-time wave data smartphone app is currently in production. For now, you can check out snapshots of the data from our prototype app. The app will allow users to see summary data, time series, and set thresholds on wave height, wave period, and wind based on their safety ranges. The app also provides a place to add messages, so other on-the-water context may be shared among users.

Left: Quileute Tribe test buoy on the map with summary data below; Right: Time series of wave height and period for a week in May 2023. (Data shared with permission by Jennifer Hagen, Marine Biologist and Marine Policy Advisor for the Quileute Tribe)

And this is only the first of MANY! See this earlier press release and our website for more details about the Backyard Buoys project and partner communities.

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