South Haven Weather Buoy
The South Haven buoy project began in 2013. The project is supported entirely by contributions from local government, businesses, organizations and individuals boaters. The buoy provides FREE access to wave height, wind speed, water temperature, and webcam images from April through October. To put in perspective observations from the buoy were requested over 510,000 times in 2021 which during the course of the available timespan is almost once every 30 seconds for six months straight. The South Haven buoy is one of the most popular of the entire Great Lakes.
This buoy was originally paid for by a grant from NOAA in 2014, but local funds are needed to keep it running year after year. LimnoTech, based in Ann Arbor, is currently responsible for maintaining the buoy. They provide all of the technical skills and know how to keep the buoy operational. LimnoTech maintains buoys across the Great Lakes in Cleveland, Toledo and several others on Lake Michigan.
Donations to this campaign go directly to the South Haven Steelheaders Sport Fishing Association (EIN 82-3922278), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The fishing club has been an integral part to bringing the buoy to South Haven in 2014 and works closely with others in the region to keep it here. The annual spend includes paying for the replacement of damaged sensors, cellular data plans, engineering support to check the buoy over in the off season, and labor to deploy/retrieve the buoy every year.
Van Buren County has contributed to the expense of the buoy for several years. The device is heavily used daily during boating season from the National Weather Service, US Coast Guard and is an essential tool for the Marine Division of the Sheriff's office and our Emergency Operations Center. The buoy is critical during search and rescue operations and for forecasting Lake Michigan squalls and dangerous rip currents.
- Great Lakes Buoys
- National Data Buoy Center - Station 45168
- National Data Buoy Center - Station SVNM4
- South Haven Steelheaders - Buoy Project