WHOI Buoy Operations


Risk Management

Management of risk is a topical question as the cost of over-the-side insurance has become prohibitive. After discussion with NSF program managers, we have instituted a system of self-insurance against loss or damage. Under this protocol, borrowers of shared-use instrumentation are encouraged to discuss and establish a repair/replacement procedure with their program managers and the WHOI Buoy Operations team before fieldwork begins as contingency against equipment loss or damage during the course of their field program.

Since 1960, scientists, engineers, and technicians at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have made nearly 1,500 deployments and countless technical and procedural advances in mooring hardware and instrumentation. Today, WHOI Buoy Operations coordinates the responses to support requests made to one or more of three task-specific sub-units. These include the shore-side and at-sea arms of the Mooring Operations, Engineering & Field Support Group, and the Field Instrumentation & eXperiment Implementation Team (FIXIT), formerly the Sub-surface Mooring Operations Group.

Potential users are invited to contact individual units directly (see links below) or the operations coordinators to discuss their needs. WHOI Buoy Operations team members help develop an operational plan and cost estimate for a project, which then become part of a user’s funding proposal. Following established protocol, all instrumentation obtained under previous NSF funding is made available to the U.S. research community with first priority given to projects funded by the NSF. In the event of scheduling conflicts among NSF-funded projects, priority will be given to the earliest request received, but only after discussion with principal investigators to resolve potential conflict. Investigators developing proposals to other funding agencies are also welcome to discuss their plans with the WHOI Buoy Operations team.

WHOI Mooring Operations, Engineering, and Field Support Group

This full-service mooring group has the resources to provide complete, one-stop mooring services, including design and fabrication, coordination of field logistics, and at-sea support for all types of operations. The group includes roughly a dozen engineers and technicians from the WHOI departments of Physical Oceanography and Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering, and its members have more than 125 years of collective experience.

Sub-Surface Mooring Operations Group (soon to be FIXIT)

This group primarily maintains a suite of instrumentation that normally does not penetrate the near-surface layer. They are also responsible for going to sea to deploy and recover these moorings. This includes current, temperature, pressure and conductivity measurements in the deep ocean to full ocean depth. Much of the equipment in this group is available for use through POOL.