NOAA’s new National Ocean Service website will provide boaters with coastal ocean surface current observations and tidal current expectations in coastal waters at nearly real-time speed by employing their high frequency (HF) radar. This is yet another step forward in NOAA’s efforts to increase mariners’ safety while navigating.

Currently, these marine observations are available for the San Francisco Bay and Chesapeake areas, and the NOAA has plans to expand the service to additional locations.

Advancement in our ability to observe and predict marine currents and environments is paramount for scientists and mariners for safety reasons; much like gusts of wind above surface, currents move pollutants, debris, and necessary nutrients from one location to another.

NOAA’s new web-based observations have been made possible thanks to NOAA’s high-tech HF radar. Unlike traditional measurement systems, the High Frequency radar does not need to be submerged into the water to detect the water current; furthermore, it can measure currents up to 125 miles away.

This is just one example of NOAA’s consistent efforts to provide as much assistance as possible to contribute to the safety of mariners. They recently made all of their Nautical Charts freely available as PDF files that you can download and print (read more). NOAA’s HF radar is also a great tool to contribute to NOAA’s PORTS, a similar system that provides real-time data about the current water level, current, and meteorological observations.

Take advantage of all the resources that NOAA provides–the better prepared and informed you are when boating, the safer you are!