A guide to data buoys and sensors

A guide to data buoys and sensors

Safety and accurate navigation is essential for maritime vessels, whether they’re passenger or cargo ships, or naval vessels. The marine industry has always been an early adopter of new technologies and innovations. New ways of gathering and making sense of data in order to improve safety, navigation, and performance, such as the use of automatic data sensors housed in buoys, is an important development that we expect to see becoming even more sophisticated in the future. Marine industries make use of data buoys and sensors as a means of monitoring conditions and then sharing the information with vessels. This blog post looks in more detail at data buoys and sensors.


What are data buoys and sensors?


Data buoys are floating buoys that are equipped with delicate sensors used to monitor a variety of atmospheric and sea conditions. Highly sensitive sensors are housed within the buoy itself to ensure it is protected at sea.


Data buoys have a variety of different applications that promote safety and navigation. Weather buoys are one common example. They monitor changing weather conditions at sea, much like a land-based weather station. The conditions that a weather buoy monitors include air temperature, wind direction and speed, and rainfall levels. All of these conditions have an impact on the course of a vessel. Data buoys warn crews of danger and help them to be responsive to changing conditions.


Data buoys can also measure sea levels, and are capable of detecting changes of only 1mm. They can also detect the temperature and salt levels both at the surface of the sea and below the surface. More widely, data sensors refer to any type of device that responds to external input from the physical environment and then transmits that data.


The purpose of data buoys and sensors


Data buoys and sensors can be used to obtain a vast range of valuable information. Meteorological sensors are instrumental to ships being able to navigate safely. They also help to predict upcoming weather patterns; drifting data buoys, in particular, can be used for predicting hurricane or cyclone activity that could have severe implications for the safety of ships and their personnel.


The data gathered from data buoys can be also be used for other purposes. Wind and current information from data buoys has recently been used to locate missing ships, leading to significant improvements in safety and the effectiveness of search and rescue operations. Information about the sea surface temperature is also valuable for the fishing industry and can help with locating specific types of fish. This can then be used to control and assist fishing activity.


The future for data buoys and sensors


We can expect data sensors to become more sophisticated and more prolific as technology continues to develop. Ongoing advancements to data and cyber security mean that transmitting data will become safer, faster, and performance and accuracy will be enhanced. This might lead to an increased reliance on data from sensors. Moving into the future, we can expect to see data buoys and sensors used for a wider range of purposes and being an even more significant element in how the maritime industry launch and navigate sea vessels.