NOAA Smart Buoys

A kayaker paddles in front of a NOAA buoy
Water trail users can visit for weather and environmental data and to read about the natural and cultural history of the area they're paddling through.

Instead of the signposts and tree blazes you would find on a land-based trail, our water trail is marked by floating buoys!

In addition to marking the Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System (CBIBS) tracks meteorological, oceanographic, and water-quality data at different locations in the Bay. The system is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

CBIBS "Smart Buoys" are loaded with sensors to collect a range of meteorological, physical, water quality, water level, chemical, biological, optical, and acoustic measurements. The information is relayed in near-real time from the buoys using wireless technology.

The immediacy and accessibility of information from these smart buoys helps people navigate the Bay, improve marine safety, and learn about the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. This data is being applied to science-based bay restoration efforts and in educating people to be better stewards of the Chesapeake Bay.

Access information about the buoys and real-time data from buoy sensors at


Last updated: April 27, 2022

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