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NOAA's Integrated Ocean Observing System Program

external linkMid-Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association

external linkU.S. Coast Guard Office of Search and Rescue

external linkDepartment of Homeland Security

Ocean Observing Data Expected to Improve Coast Guard Search and Rescue Efforts

Coast Guard Search and Rescue operations: helicopter dropping diver into ocean

The U.S. Coast Guard is now incorporating near real-time speed and direction of ocean surface currents measured by Integrated Ocean Observing System radar systems to aid in coastal search and rescue efforts.

A new set of ocean observing data is expected to improve search and rescue efforts along the coasts of the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region. The data comes from the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®), part of a joint effort among NOAA, the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Coast Guard Search & Rescue Map

A U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue map. The Coast Guard estimates that an additional 26 to 45 lives a year may be saved with the addition of a new set of ocean observing data supplied by Integrated Ocean Observing System partners.

The new data sets include surface current maps from high frequency radar systems that provide speed and direction of ocean surface currents in near real time. By incorporating this data, the Coast Guard can conduct search and rescue operations with greater accuracy.

The maps may also be used to support other scientific work, such as oil spill response, harmful algal bloom monitoring, and water quality assessments.

In addition, the data will be used to generate 24-hour forecasts for sea surface currents based on the most recent ocean observations for the Mid-Atlantic region.