I'm looking for a small buoy hull for some scientific instrumentation.
August 18, 2004 2:32 AM   Subscribe

Scientists, sailors, meteorologists: I need a buoy! I'm looking for a small buoy hull for some scientific instrumentation. [more inside]

All I've been able to find are huge NOAA-style weather buoys and pre-made sensor buoys like this one that are the right size, but already loaded. It seems wasteful to buy one and gut it. Is there a company that sells buoy hulls designed for sensor payloads, or is this a custom job? Something between 1-3 feet in diameter with a clear top for solar panels and a watertight seal is all I need. It doesn't seem too tall an order, but I've failed in my own google searches.
posted by Nothing to Technology (6 answers total)
That is actually quite a tall order as anything that can survive in the ocean is $$$. (And there's not a very large demand..)
posted by mbell at 3:10 AM on August 18, 2004

How about tupperware?
posted by jeb at 6:27 AM on August 18, 2004

Why not just buy an acrylic dome and glue it to something waterproof? Put some weight in the bottom, and make sure to use a glue that will stand up to seawater and sunlight...
posted by sfenders at 8:48 AM on August 18, 2004

I don't have any specific recommendations, but the magazine that covers scientific buoys and such is called Sea Technology. I see they have a buyers guide listed on their front page. That might be what you're looking for.
posted by bonehead at 11:53 AM on August 18, 2004

Response by poster: I don't expect cheap, I just don't want to pay for a bunch of sensors I'm going to rip out and toss away.

Tupperware or a homebuilt buoy would work for a demo, but it wouldn't last a month in the ocean. Good idea, though.

Thanks for the link, bonehead, that looks like a good place to start.
posted by Nothing at 2:36 PM on August 18, 2004

Try West Marine. They have all kinds of floaty boat stuff.

You may want to check the commercial boat district near where you live/work. There may be a more business or wholesale oriented vendor that has better price and selection than West Marine. But west should help you get started.

Those tough-end fenders are used all the time in semi-permanent installations by yacht clubs as race marks (the things that mark a sailboat race-course). I've seen them used with mushroom anchors in the lower Hudson River (lots of floating debris, like 40' 12"x12" wood beams) for anchor points and race marks.

Any hard plastic will probably turn brittle when immersed in cold seawater. Also, seagulls love to stand and defecate on anything that floats. Otters, Sea-Lions, and Walruses may try to get up on anything that floats too. Sailors will try to sail around your instruments, possibly catching their keels on the anchor line. Powerboater will try to get close enough for a look and hit it with their props. Jet-skiiers might use it as a jump. Swimmers may hang on to your device to catch their breath before the swim back.
posted by Kwantsar at 3:54 PM on August 18, 2004

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