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Westport’s wave buoy deployed

13 Jun 2024

The Sofar Spotter Ocean wave buoy purchased by the West Coast Regional Council (WCRC) was deployed off the coast of Westport last Friday. 

A team from Buller District Council and the WCRC used Westport Harbour’s vessel Protector to transport the buoy and moorings to the site, 1.5 nautical miles NNW out from the harbour entrance. 

The bright yellow buoy is 800 mm in diameter and tethered to a secondary yellow buoy which acts as an aid to navigation, fitted with an amber flashing light. It is powered by an array of solar panels and located off the tip heads, on the main lead line at 41 42.137’S and 171 34.766’E. 

The buoy will be used to collect data in real time, including maximums, means and minimums for wave period, height and direction; wind speed and direction; sea temperature, and barometric pressure.  

This information, collected over time, will form a valuable dataset able to be used to update the flood model that the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has developed for Westport, in partnership with the WCRC. 

These datasets will also help those developing the flood models to set more appropriate downstream boundary conditions for the flood inundation maps that are created from the flood model forecasts.  

These currently use more national-scale datasets for sea level, wave height and wave period, so the local data will greatly increase their accuracy. 

Harbourmaster Domonic Venz says “The purchase of the wave buoy by the West Coast Regional Council is a long-term investment that will improve the Westport Flood Forecast’s performance and refine the inundation maps, which are used by Civil Defence Emergency Management.  
With the Westport Harbour team working together with the West Coast Regional Council, we are now able to provide access to this real time data, sharing sea conditions just off the coast with all harbour users.” 
The wave buoy data is currently being telemetered to the Westport Harbour website for the public to access and will also be available the West Coast Regional Council website in the coming months alongside the current rainfall and river level data. 

The wave buoy falls under the ‘accommodate’ function of the Protect, Avoid, Retreat, Accommodate (PARA) framework for the Resilient Westport package of work. It is being funded by central government, through the Department of Internal Affairs. 

This funding ($22.9M) aims to deliver an integrated package focused on longer term flood resilience, which includes flood mitigation structures for Westport. 


For further information please contact:
Communications and Engagement Team
Buller District Council