The extremely useful NOAA buoy system

While offshore the other night, I was in the area of one of the NOAA buoys off Boston Harbor, the 44013 buoy. I was within visual distance of the buoy, which was kind of cool as it is hard to find in such a remote area. This buoy is 16 nautical miles East of Boston.

These NOAA buoys are located all up and down the coast and provide valuable information about wind, weather and wave height. You can go to one of my favorite websites,, and go to the marine forecast section, to get real time data from these stations about conditions offshore. If you zoom in the picture below, you may be able to see the distant Boston skyline in the background:

I monitor the data out of these stations frequently, and one of my most interesting stories about station 44013 was during a Nor’Easter in late December 2008. It was not long before Christmas, when a snow emergency had been called in the city and cars had to be evacuated. As I walked home after dropping my car off at a parking garage in South Boston, I remember the abnormal size of the waves and the force of the wind across the Summer Street bridge. When I got home, I looked up the NOAA buoy data, and found that the wave height at 44013 that evening was over 20 feet!

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One Response to The extremely useful NOAA buoy system

  1. Brad Goodman says:

    These buoys do some weird stuff! For example – these *particular* buoys (along the freighter channel into Boston Harbor) listen for right whales. When it hears one – they send a signal – for a period of time, which tells large commercial boats that they have to slow down. You can even see the real-time whale alert status on your smartphone or web browser.

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