NOAA 2003-R408
Contact: Jordan St. John
NOAA News Releases 2003
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The NOAA National Ocean Service (NOAA Oceans and Coasts) is asking for the return of oceanographic equipment lost during a recent survey of the tidal currents in Humboldt Bay. One piece of equipment uses acoustic pulses to measure the currents in a body of water. The second piece was a release mechanism that is used for anchoring and recovering the current meter. Anyone with the equipment, or has any information concerning this equipment, should call the Humboldt Bay Port Authority (707) 443-0801 on Woodley Island in Eureka as soon as possible. The equipment requires specialized knowledge to operate and maintain, and would have no practical use for anyone outside the oceanographic community. The instrument contains valuable data that will be used to help local fishermen and boat operators safely transit the Humboldt Bay Inlet. The manufacturer has been informed about its disappearance and will inform NOAA Oceans and Coasts if it is returned to them.

On February 24, a local fisherman returned the yellow exterior housing of the mooring to the local NOAA National Weather Service office in Eureka. We believe that the mooring housing was found on the beach north of the Humboldt Bay inlet somewhere near McKinleyville. Neither the current meter nor the acoustic releases were returned, and the fisherman indicated that these parts were not with the equipment that he found. Upon inspection, it appears that someone had taken the mooring apart and removed all of the oceanographic equipment.

At the request of the Humboldt Bay Harbor District, NOAA Oceans and Coasts has undertaken a project to measure the tidal currents in Humboldt Bay and the waters just outside the breakwater. NOAA Oceans and Coasts deployed the oceanographic equipment to measure the currents in December 2002. The meter was underwater in about 45 feet of water, located approximately 3/4 mile off the beach, just outside the inlet channel to Humboldt Bay. The meter was enclosed in a yellow mooring assembly and attached to an 800 pound anchor by an acoustic release. Some time between January 22 and February 24, the current meter and its associated hardware separated from its anchor and floated to the surface.

One responsibility of NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOAA Oceans and Coasts) is to produce accurate predictions of the tides and tidal currents throughout the country. These predictions are used by the maritime community to safely navigate the nation’s waterways, for search and rescue operations and to assist emergency responders in event of an oil or hazardous material spill. These predictions are also used for Homeland Security personnel to help ensure the safety of maritime commerce.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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