What is PORTS®?

PORTS® stands for Physical Oceanographic Real Time System.

aerial view of Jacksonville PORTS

PORTS® facilitates safe and efficient movement through U.S. seaports, helping to ensure our nation's economic health and prosperity. Shown here: the Jacksonville PORTS®, the second largest established in the national system, includes 46 operational sensors that cover levels, currents, visibility, salinity, meteorological conditions, and under-bridge clearance.

NOAA PORTS® is an information system that measures and disseminates the oceanographic and meteorological data that mariners need to navigate safely.

Marine navigation safety is a serious issue of national concern. By volume, more than 95 percent of U.S. international trade moves through the nation's ports and harbors, with about 50 percent of those goods being hazardous materials. The potential risks to maritime commerce and the coastal environment are apparent.

PORTS® mitigates those risks by integrating real-time environmental data (water levels, tides, currents, waves, salinity, bridge air gap) and meteorological parameters (winds, atmospheric pressure, air and water temperatures) with forecasts and other geospatial information, and tailoring the output to the needs of local communities.

Through PORTS®, NOAA is responding to one of the nation's most significant challenges – to improve the economic efficiency and competitiveness of U.S. maritime commerce while reducing risks to life, property, and the coastal environment.

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The first PORTS® was established in Tampa, Florida, in 1991. At present, 25 PORTS® are operating on all three U.S. coasts and in Alaska.

Last updated: 10/10/17
Author: NOAA
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