We recently attended the Mariners' Advisory Committee (MAC) meeting in Philadelphia and were very excited to learn that the Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®) system in the Philadelphia region will remain operational thanks to new funding sources.
PORTS is widely described as “A decision support tool that improves the safety and efficiency of maritime commerce and coastal resource management through the integration of real-time environmental observations, forecasts and other geospatial information. PORTS® measures and disseminates observations and predictions of water levels, currents, salinity, and meteorological parameters (e.g., winds, atmospheric pressure, air, and water temperatures) that mariners need to navigate safely.”
As PortVision users know, this data is critical for bringing large ships into port. Often times the vessels will need to plan their transit or loading based on a number of environmental factors, especially water levels and currents. By having easy access to their real time data, waterway users and terminals make more informed decisions around scheduling their activities and greatly increase the safe operation of these vessels.
NOAA PORTS locations are represented in the PortVision map as a NOAA PORTS icon. The PORTS icons are displayed on the PortVision map, along with AIS ship positions and other related data.
Clicking on the PORTS icon, a new window will open and you will be directed to the PORTS data for the specific location. For each PORTS buoy you have the choice to see a number of real time environmental factors. Tide data is updated every 15 minutes with a red “x” and is graphed along with the predicted tide for that date and time. You will see that during significant weather events, often times the tides will not always rise or fall as predicted and can require you to adjust your plans. The earlier you can recognize any impact to your schedule the faster you can respond to these changes and limit your exposure.
PortVision integrates a variety of NOAA-related data in addition to integrating PORTS data into the AIS mapping display. If you have specific questions about how to access PORTS and other NOAA data, please feel free to contact us today. If you are not currently a PortVision subscriber, you can sign up for your free trial here.