Safety at Sea

April 7, 2014

Critical environmental data for maritime
operational efficiency on Canada’s east coast

A network of AXYS 3 Metre and WatchKeeper metocean buoys transmit real-time meteorological and oceanographic data as part of the SmartAtlantic Alliance. This critical data is used to generate custom synoptic weather and sea-state forecasts to support safe and effective pilot and tanker operations.

In the beginning

AXYS 3m Buoy SmartBay 2006

AXYS’ relationship with the Marine Institute and the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) began with the creation of “Smart Bay” in 2006 – a demonstration project in Placentia Bay located along Canada’s most eastern province of Newfoundland. Smart Bay’s objective was to improve “the safety and security of life at sea” by strengthening the technology and information base on which maritime decisions were made.

To support this goal, MUN required ocean monitoring platforms that could reliably measure and report meteorological and oceanographic conditions year-round while surviving the icy and extreme North Atlantic conditions found off of eastern Canada. Given these requirements, the AXYS 3 Metre and WatchKeeper buoys were chosen as the optimal platforms for data collection and distribution.

In the summer of 2006 the first AXYS 3m buoy was deployed at the mouth of Placentia Bay. In June 2010, two additional buoys were deployed – one WatchKeeper at Come by Chance Point and one 3m at the Pilot Boarding Station at the south end of Red Island.

Growing a network

WatchKeeper Buoy SmartAtlanticIn 2012 SmartBay received additional government funding which increased the network scope with 8 more AXYS buoys: 4 x 3m buoys, 2 x WatchKeeper buoys, 2 x TRIAXYS wave buoys. These buoys were received in 2013 and have been deployed in the Port Aux Basques Harbour, around St John’s Bay, and in Herring Cove at the mouth of Halifax harbour in Nova Scotia.

SmartBay to SmartAtlantic

Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Centre for Applied Ocean Technology (CTec) leads the SmartBay applied ocean observation system on Newfoundland’s south coast, with the on-going expansion to four additional ports-of-call around the province. The Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise (IORE) leads the deployment and operation of the 3 Metre buoy off Herring Cove in Nova Scotia. In 2013, CTec and IORE partnered to unite both initiatives under the SmartAtlantic Alliance banner.


  1. Better Decision-Making
  • Help to facilitate timely, efficient and appropriate decisions, taking into consideration all competing demands on a particular resource of ocean area
  1. Research
  • Support research into long-term issues, such as stock sustainability.
  1. Safety
  • Help users of coastal resources operate safely and efficiently, with less impact on the environment.
  • Enhance safety and operational efficiency for oil tankers transiting the Bay, (over 300 million barrels of oil are transported here every year).

Live Data

AXYS 3m Buoy SmartAtlantic Herring Cove 2013