So how bad are the waves today…

Dial-A-Buoy adds a neat twist to a terrific resource

There is a wealth of web-based information to help plan our next dive trip but none is more useful or used by as many divers as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Data Buoy Center (NDBC).

This branch of the National Weather Service designs, develops, operates, and maintains a network of data collecting buoys and coastal observation stations around America’s coasts and across the Great Lakes. Buoy reports include wind direction, speed, gust, significant wave height, swell and wind-wave heights and periods, air temperature, water temperature, and sea level pressure.

Some buoys report wave directions. Coastal weather stations report the winds, air temperature, and pressure; some also report wave information, water temperature, visibility, and dew point.

The service is simple to use and navigating around the site can be distracting… there is so much to look at and learn.

Since we are featuring dives in the Great Lakes in this issue of Dive Log, here is the NOAA network of weather buoys in that area of the country.

What is Dial-A-Buoy?

The data on line from the NOAA buoys includes wave height and water temperature, two items of news most divers love to have when planning their next adventure. But NOAA has added a nice twist to the information age by updating its Dial-A-Buoy service.

Dial-A-Buoy is an easy way to find up-to-date weather reports when you are away from a computer and the Internet. It delivers wind and wave measurements taken within the last hour at buoy and coastal weather stations operated by the National Data Buoy Center via a cell phone call. The original Dial-A-Buoy service was opened in 1997. Last year, NDBC and the National Ocean Service’s Center for Operational Ocean Products and Services (NOS/CO-OPS) jointly implemented a replacement for the original system which had operated well beyond its expected life cycle.

Many divers and charter captains use the observations, in combination with forecasts, to make decisions on whether it is safe to venture out. There are reports that it has saved lives but one thing for sure, it has saved many wasted trips to the coast when conditions are just too brutal for diving. Find out more by exploring here…

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