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The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) deployed a new wave buoy off Kalaeloa Barbers Point on May 31. The buoy is located approximately 1.5 miles to the west of Kalaeloa Harbor on Oʻahu’s leeward side and provides real-time information on wave height, wave direction wave period and sea surface temperature.

Many commercial and recreational ocean users, as well as state and federal agencies, utilize PacIOOS wave buoy data to assess ocean conditions, allowing for safe operations and ocean use. Data from the Kalaeloa Barbers Point wave buoy, along with other PacIOOS wave buoy data, are available online.

PacIOOS Director Melissa Iwamoto stated, “The deployment of the Kalaeloa Barbers Point wave buoy was greatly anticipated by many of our users, stakeholders and partners, and we are thrilled that the buoy is now back on site. Our network of wave buoys collects important real-time wave observations in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Islands to inform and promote safe decision-making.”

Data empowers ocean users

Two researchers reaching for a buoy off a boat

Deploying the buoy

PacIOOS empowers ocean users and stakeholders throughout the Pacific Islands by providing accurate and reliable coastal and ocean information, tools and services that are easy to access and use. PacIOOS is based at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and is one of 11 regional associations of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System.

Pat Caldwell, NOAA data center liaison and Hawaiʻi surf forecaster, said, “We are excited that the Kalaeloa Barbers Point wave buoy is back in the water right in time for south summer swells. Reliable, real-time wave observations from the PacIOOS wave buoys are incredibly important to establish daily surf reports and to enhance our forecasting ability and accuracy. They serve as eyes on the ocean as they provide us with a constant flow of timely data, 24/7.”

Due to an increase in vessel traffic, PacIOOS acquired the necessary permits to relocate the previous Barbers Point wave buoy to a location slightly farther north. In its new position, the wave buoy will continue to collect accurate wave information for south and west facing shorelines.

Please stay clear of the buoy

To ensure continuous operation of the Kalaeloa Barbers Point wave buoy, vessel operators and ocean users are asked to stay clear of the buoy and refrain from tying to the equipment in order to avoid collisions and damage to the buoy. The mooring location of the buoy is included on nautical charts; however, boaters are reminded that the exact position of the wave buoy varies because of necessary slack in the mooring line.

PacIOOS owns and operates a network of 15 wave buoys in the U.S. Pacific Islands, 10 of which are located in the State of Hawaiʻi. Another south-facing wave buoy will be redeployed in the upcoming months off Lānaʻi.

Data management for the PacIOOS wave buoys is made possible through long-term partnerships with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Coastal Data Information Program.

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