OCNMS moorings can be seen on the surface of the water by an orange float connected to a flagged 6 ft. pole with a radar reflector.
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary collects a variety of basic oceanographic data to monitor
water quality, plankton blooms (including harmful algal blooms or "HABs"), upwelling, and low
oxygen events. Variation of these conditions directly affects fish and other marine life, wildlife
abundances, and human health in the region, and data collected are useful for both monitoring and
predicting the status of the coastal environment.
The primary tools used by the sanctuary to monitor oceanographic conditions are instrumented
research moorings. The sanctuary first deployed moorings in 2000, and is currently maintaining 13
at the locations listed below. The moorings are a lightweight design, only suitable for summer use,
when most HABs and low oxygen events occur. They are deployed from the Sanctuary's research vessel
Tatoosh in late April or early May (as weather allows) and recovered in early October. During the
summer, maintenance is required 3 or 4 times, and each mooring is completely pulled out of the water
for cleaning, servicing and data download before being re-deployed.
Mooring instrumentation that collects data on water quality is mounted on a ‘rosette’ and deployed throughout the summer season along the Washington coast.
Instrumentation is mounted at various depths on the moorings depending on the particular location.
All moorings have four to eight small temperature loggers on them, and many have some combination
of other instruments measuring temperature much more accurately, salinity, water velocity,
phytoplankton abundance, water cloudiness, and oxygen levels. Brief summaries of recent years'
mooring work can be found on our
fieldwork web page here
Data from these instruments are used by a variety of Sanctuary partners including:
Read more information about our mooring instrumentation
For information on current (or past) mooring locations, please see our mooring locations web page
For access to data from our moorings
, that has a web page, too.
Fishermen are the most likely group of boaters to encounter our moorings in the water. These
moorings could be a hazard to boaters and they have delicate and expensive equipment attached which
collect valuable data. Please do not disturb them, and try to stay 100 yards away to avoid
accidental entanglement or damage. Active mooring locations are listed on the
page. If you have concerns or suggestions,
or would like more information about them, your comments are greatly appreciated - please contact
If you have "caught" any of our equipment, please let us know as soon as possible, so we can
recover valuable data and equipment.
Did you find something odd or that looks like it might be a piece of oceanographic equipment?
Does it have "OCNMS" identified on it? If you have found mooring components
(see the instrumentation page
) drifting or on the beach please notify
. Even damaged instrumentation may
still contain important data, and we would like to retrieve any loose equipment. We greatly
appreciate your help, and we will make every effort to retrieve this equipment from you.
Google map of our oceanographic mooring sites
Contact for page content: Rick Fletcher