The PORTS (Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System) program is administered by NOAA National Ocean Service (NOS) and coordinates efforts to improve the safety and efficiency of maritime navigation in the United States.  

During meetings with stakeholders–in this instance, pilots and other commercial mariners–it became clear that navigation through Cape Cod Bay and the Cape Cod Canal could be extremely challenging. Cape Cod Bay is bisected by a busy shipping lane leading into the Cape Cod Canal, a waterway that is infamous for currents in excess of five knots, making it one of the swiftest-moving maritime passages in the world. 

If pilots were given additional information about the conditions within Cape Cod Bay and the Canal, they could tailor their operational decisions accordingly, and avoid situations that could result in personal or environmental tragedy. 

Project Outputs
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With funding from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), wave buoys have been installed in Cape Cod Bay and Buzzards Bay, and a current profiler station was placed at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. The information from these observing assets are available to pilots through the Cape Cod PORTS/CO-OPS website, and data from the Cape Cod Bay buoy are also available on NERACOOS’s Mariners’ Dashboard.

What's next

In 2021, NERACOOS, Mass. DEP and NOAA NOS renewed their agreement to have NERACOOS manage the Cape Cod PORTS project and coordinate the operation and management of the buoys and current profiler through 2026. 

If you have questions about PORTS, contact [email protected]

Project Partners