Southernmost buoy
around isles restored
to service

A weather buoy critical to warning Hawaii of hurricanes has been restored to service after breaking free from its 18,000-foot mooring in June.

The $250,000 buoy was returned to its mooring by U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kukui. It was recovered by another vessel after breaking loose.

The buoy is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to collect weather data 180 nautical miles southeast of the Big Island.

It's the southernmost buoy of four encircling the Hawaiian Islands. Others are located northwest of Kauai, south of Kauai and south of Oahu.

The buoys collect wave and sea height, air and sea temperature, barometric pressure and wind speed and direction.

The data are sent via satellite to the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and used mostly to provide early hurricane warnings. The hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 in Hawaii. The National Weather Service also uses the information for maritime forecasting and the data is available to the public at

Kukui, a 225-foot buoy tender home-ported in Honolulu, returned to Sand Island after launching the errant buoy.

It also retrieved Buoy One northwest of Kauai in February for servicing and returned it in June. It delivered two NOAA technicians to one of the other buoys in March after its transmitter failed.

The buoy tender services aids to navigation throughout the Hawaiian Islands and western Pacific.


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