GOM Recreational users invited to free observation system workshop

April 20, 2009

By Worth Nowlin

Recreational boaters and divers who pursue their hobbies in the western Gulf of Mexico are invited to tell scientists the types of information they want to receive from the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System (GCOOS) when it is fully developed.

Members of the GCOOS Regional Association will hold a free workshop May 28-29 at the Hilton Houston NASA to teach boaters and divers about the ocean data currently available through the variety of instruments that monitor the Gulf of Mexico, and to get input from these groups on what other types of information they’d like to receive from the GCOOS and how they want the information delivered.

The GCOOS Regional Association is the organization tasked with integrating coastal and ocean information for the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico into the larger U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System.

Participants must be pre-registered to attend the workshop and attendance is limited, so early registration is encouraged. To register, go to the GCOOS website at http://www.gcoos.org and then click on the calendar link, located on the left hand menu bar. On the calendar page, click on the link to the workshop, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the registration link.

Participants are responsible for their own lodging, transportation and other costs.

If you cannot attend the workshop, you can submit comments and suggestions to the GCOOS office via email at srmartin@tamu.edu.

Boaters and divers already have access to ocean information provided by a number of federal, state, local and private sources. There is now a national effort underway to integrate these multiple sources of information under one umbrella — coastal ocean observing systems — improving both the quality and quantity of data available. These observing systems can provide information that will enhance recreational users’ enjoyment of the water and their safety.

For more information about the workshop, contact Worth Nowlin at wnowlin@tamu.edu.
An initial recreational boating workshop was held in the eastern Gulf, St. Petersburg, FL, on February 4-5, 2009.  The workshop report may be viewed on the GCOOS web site under meeting reports.

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Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.