What is a current survey?

NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services provides tidal current predictions to commercial and recreational mariners who rely on this information for safe navigation. In order to provide the most accurate predictions possible, NOAA must periodically resurvey various coastal and estuarine locations. Survey locations are selected based on mariners’ navigation needs, oceanographic analyses, and the amount of time that has passed since the last survey. Given modern improvements in measurement and computing technology, these surveys greatly improve the accuracy of tidal predictions. In 2017, for example, NOAA concluded a three-year current survey of Puget Sound, Washington, to update the region’s tidal current predictions. Prior to the survey, predictions were based on limited amounts of data collected in the 1930s-1960s.

Continue reading →