NOAA 2004-R447
Contact: Ben Sherman
NOAA News Releases 2004
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today announced he Port of Tacoma is the 11th major United States shipping harbor to install a new Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System®. PORTS®, which was developed and operated by NOAA, is designed to support safe, cost-efficient marine transportation by providing accurate real-time oceanographic and meteorological data. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Tacoma is the fifth largest container port in the North America handling more than 22 million tons of cargo annually, more than $5 billion in exports and $21 billion in imports. For ships to move cargo safely, those managing the vessel must accurately know the depth of water to enable movement of the greatest amount of cargo without the vessel running aground. The Tacoma PORTS® will provide real time information on water level and meteorological conditions, which will be updated every six minutes and thoroughly quality controlled to ensure accuracy. Users of NOAA PORTS® information include port authorities, vessel pilots, shipping companies, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, recreational boaters, fishermen, coastal managers, environmental organizations, academia and surfers.

“The NOAA PORTS® Program is of tremendous importance to the marine commerce industry of the United States and is a very successful product resulting from NOAA science,” says Richard Spinrad, Ph.D., assistant administrator of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “Waterborne cargo contributes more than $742 billion to the United States gross domestic product, and creates jobs for more than 13 million people. Promoting safe navigation is a critical contribution of NOAA to our nation’s economy.”

Administered by NOAA National Ocean Service's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, PORTS® is a cooperative effort with the Port of Tacoma. Funding for PORTS® is provided by the Port of Tacoma for the equipment, installation and operations of the system while NOAA provides the management, quality control and data dissemination.

Tacoma joins 10 PORTS® systems supporting seaports around the nation using the highly successful NOAA program. Other areas using the system are: Anchorage, Alaska; Chesapeake Bay; Delaware River and Bay; Galveston and Houston; Los Angeles-Long Beach; Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island; New York-New Jersey Harbor; San Francisco Bay; The Soo Locks, Mich., and Tampa Bay, Fla.

NOAA's National Ocean Service, which includes the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation's coasts and oceans. It balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

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.

On the Web:


National Ocean Service: