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Late Spring Buoy System Update

Late spring and early summer usually bring delightful weather to the Chesapeake Bay--warming temperatures and pleasant breezes, and the water temperature is still refreshing. People around the Bay are taking to the water to relax, fish, and sail, especially during these social distancing days. But this lovely weather can be punctuated by severe thunderstorms--so it’s important to be aware of the forecast for your area and to track conditions as they evolve. 

The CBIBS team strives to have buoys operational and reporting data whenever possible. Our ability to repair and maintain buoys is currently limited as NOAA vessels are not operating due to COVID-19. On-the-water work would require our two buoy technicians to work in close proximity on board a small boat for extended periods of time, which is currently not allowed. We are exploring alternatives and partnerships that may enable us to affect some repairs and maintenance until the situation evolves and we are once again able to get our buoy technicians safely out on the water. 

Here’s a quick rundown on the buoys:

  • Gooses Reef and Stingray Point are in the water and fully reporting.
  • Annapolis is in the water and reporting many observations. Wind speed, gust, and direction and current information are not currently functioning. As the situation evolves, when protocol changes to allow this kind of operation, fixing the Annapolis buoy is our top priority for our team.
  • Potomac is in the water but is no longer reporting due to several challenges, including battery failure. We anticipate swapping in a new buoy at this location, timing TBD.
  • Plans are in the works to redeploy the Jamestown buoy later this summer.
  • York Spit and First Landing are in the water and fully reporting. However, these are both “old” buoys; we are working to operate CBIBS with a suite of newer buoys (the four other buoys in the water are “new” buoys). We are working with contracted marine services to first remove the two old buoys. This will likely happen the week of June 8 or June 15. Redeployment of buoys will follow in a few weeks. We are able to have this work take place because it must be accomplished by a larger, contracted vessel. The larger vessel enables its crew to operate safely with enough space between crew members. While we intend to replace the York Spit buoy, the First Landing buoy may not be redeployed this summer. That buoy may be positioned at another location in the Chesapeake Bay.