Backyard Buoys had a highly successful year in 2023. Supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Convergence Accelerator Program, three IOOS Regional Associations (NANOOS, PacIOOS, and AOOS) collaborated with Sofar Ocean Technologies, as well as Indigenous and education partners from each region. Their joint effort aimed to provide real-time wave data to Indigenous coastal communities.
The Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission (AEWC) and UIC Science deployed 13 wave buoys—3 near Point Hope, 3 near Wainwright, and 7 near Utqiaġvik—from August through October. Whaling captains and community members accessed wave data using the Backyard Buoys App. According to AEWC Chair and Wainwright Whaling Captain, John Hopson Jr., “We were able to look at the waves nearshore, but could use the buoy data at 5 and 10 miles from shore to know if it was safe to go out.” Wave buoys were also deployed by the Quinault Indian Nation and Quileute Tribe in Washington, as well as off of Majuro in the Marshall Islands.
In addition to these accomplishments, we are excited to announce that we have launched a new Backyard Buoys website.
The entire team from all regions will be participating in an all-hands meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, February 6–7, 2024. For the 2024 season, we are working with AEWC to determine buoy locations and upgrades to the moorings based on lessons learned.