MIAMI—(ENEWSPF)—June 26, 2010. Three buoys have been deployed near Cape San Blas, the southern-most point of Franklin County, Fla., to help monitor the water currents in the Big Bend area. A fourth buoy was deployed to monitor waters north of the Eddy Franklin.
The buoys, Self-Locating Datum Marker Buoys (SLDMB), are air-deployable, standard oceanographic surface drifters that report their GPS positions every 30 minutes, via a satellite system to a Coast Guard Operational System Center. Members of the Florida Peninsula Command Post (FPCP) Unified Command are utilizing these additional buoys to gain more information about water motion near the Florida Panhandle and Eddy Franklin.
An HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft from the Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Ala., deployed the first three buoys. The fourth was deployed from a C-130 fixed wing aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla. The SLDMBs are routinely used by the Coast Guard during search and rescue cases to determine on scene surface ocean currents. Twelve buoys are already deployed in the Gulf of Mexico to provide support to oceanographers of the NOAA HAZMAT team in Seattle, who are making daily oil slick forecasts.
The FPCP continues to monitor for signs of oil encroachment through the Sentry Program, as well as surveillance efforts of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Efforts include aircraft, vessel and vehicle patrols along Florida’s northern coastal counties. The motor vessels Sea Sub and Ocean Star are actively patrolling the loop current west of Dry Tortugas using visual observations and collection nets to monitor and assess this area. The Richard L. Becker is patrolling a broad region of the central Gulf of Mexico to provide real-time surface monitoring near the Eddy Franklin.
The drift tracks of all Coast Guard drifters currently deployed in the Gulf of Mexico can be viewed at: