NOAA launches new 'smart buoy' near Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

Tenth in a series of buoys completes backbone of NOAA's Chesapeake Bay buoy network

August 17, 2011

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson.

NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson deploying the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy at the mouth of the Bay.

Download here. (Credit: NOAA)

Boaters and fishermen in the Chesapeake now have a new way to check conditions at the mouth of the Bay, thanks to a new NOAA “smart buoy” deployed today near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel near Virginia Beach, Va.

The highly sophisticated buoy is the newest addition to NOAA's Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System (CBIBS), a network of buoys that transmit multi-use oceanographic and meteorological data from the Bay to weather forecasters, maritime safety personnel, coastal decision makers, and recreational boaters and fishermen.

“This buoy completes the backbone of NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System and strengthens our ability to gather environmental intelligence about the Bay,” said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction and deputy NOAA administrator. “These continuing observations provide NOAA and coastal officials with a better picture of how hypoxia, climate change and other marine stressors are changing the Bay environment.”

Managed by NOAA’s Chesapeake Bay Office, CBIBS buoys collect weather, oceanographic and water-quality observations and transmit this data wirelessly in near-real time. These measurements and related educational resources can be accessed at ( for mobile devices) and by toll-free phone at 877-BUOY-BAY (877-286-9229). This information is also available via free Android and iPhone applications. CBIBS uses new technology to make information available for a broad range of research, commercial, and recreational purposes, including assessing the progress of bay restoration.

In addition to weather and water data, users can also use the website and toll free number to learn more about the voyages of Captain John Smith and their encounters with indigenous peoples 400 years ago. Each buoy in the system serves as an educational reference point along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, which in addition to education also serves as a mechanism for recreation, and tourism in the Chesapeake Bay region.

The buoy was deployed by NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson as the vessel left the Bay for its upcoming survey project in New England.

“We are pleased that NOAA and the National Park Service continue to expand their innovative approach to combining scientific research support for the Chesapeake Bay with interpretive services for the public,” said John Maounis, superintendent of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. “With this tenth smart buoy on the trail, boaters and paddlers traveling through this treasured landscape can learn more about Captain Smith's visit here to the Virginia Capes.”

The other nine buoys in the network are located at the mouths of the Susquehanna, Patapsco, Severn, Potomac, and Rappahannock Rivers; in the main stem of the Bay near Calvert County, Md.; in the Potomac River near Alexandria, Va.; in the James River near Jamestown; and in the Elizabeth River off Norfolk.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.