East Hawaii News

Ocean Users Urged to Avoid Hilo PacIOOS Buoy

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While performing routine maintenance of the Hilo Bay wave buoy, the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System with the University of Hawai’i at Manoa School for Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology retrieved gear wrapped around the mooring line that could cause harm.

PacIOOS officials ask that ocean users carefully avoid contact with the wave buoy that is located 7 miles northeast of Hilo harbor. Navigating around the buoy and refraining from tying equipment to the buoy, as well as giving 600 yards of space when fishing in the area, are suggested ways to avoid getting things tangled in the mooring line.

“The wave buoys, and the sensors that lie within, are very sensitive. Any sort of collision or other abrupt impact can damage the instruments,” says Kimball Milikan, PacIOOS Marine Research Engineer. “When we perform checkups, we sometimes find fishing line or other marine debris around the mooring line which can, in a worst case, cut the buoy free.”

Part of the existing PacIOOS network of 13 real-time wave buoys across the Pacific, the Hilo Bay buoy will continue to provide data on wave height, direction, period and sea surface temperature.


Data gathered from the wave buoy is beneficial to entire communities. The data is helpful in preparing the community, emergency responders, and county officials when big wave events occur that can have potential impact on Hilo’s shoreline. Additionally, the data is available to all ocean users, including fishermen, commercial operatory, surfers, paddlers, and swimmers.

Those interested in viewing the data can visit the PacIOOS website. The data streaming for the wave buoy is through long-term partnerships between PacIOOS, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and Coastal Data Information Program.

Specific coordinates of the Hilo Bay buoy are: 19° 46.89′ N, 154° 58.08′ W; 188 fathoms depth



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