Lynker personnel are part of a large effort by NOAA OCS to assist commercial vessels navigating port waters. NOAA OCS Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) has three program areas, consisting of 1) Physical Oceanographic Real Time System (PORTS), 2) Operational Forecast Systems (OFS), and 3) tide and current observations and predictions.

A PORTS is made up of any number and combination of sensors (water level, air gap, met, visibility, current meters) that provide commercial vessels with real time information about conditions within a port. Depending on the types of sensors and agreements between CO-OPS and the PORTS partner, Lynker personnel in the CO-OPS Engineering Division help design the sensor systems and platforms and monitor the data, the Field Operations Division (FOD) installs and maintains many of the sensors, Lynker CORMS monitors the real time data 24/7, and those in the Oceanographic Division process the data and assist with product creation. Lynker’s Michelle Burt assists the Program Manager with air gap sensor partner communication. (

OFS are Nowcast and forecast (out to 48-72 hours depending on the model) model information for water levels, currents, wind, salinity and water temperature. There are 14 OFS, all of which provide critical data for commercial vessel trip planning. Lynker personnel in the Oceanographic Division contribute to these OFS through data processing, QAQC and modeling. (

Third is tide and current observations and predictions, which is CO-OPS bread and butter. CO-OPS provides real-time, predicted, and historic data for water levels and currents through the NWLON (National Water Level Observation Network) and NCOP (National Current Observation Program). Data provided by NWLON stations are the source of the nation’s official tidal predictions. Real-time and predicted water level and current data allows marine vessels to transit in and out of ports safely. As with PORTS, Lynker personnel do everything from designing and installing systems, monitoring and QA/QC data, create predictive models, and display past, present and future data for public use. Lynker personnel in the Oceanographic Division also contribute to establishing tidal datums (a standard elevation defined by a certain phase of the tide used as references to measure local water levels).