Cutter Roanoke Island recovers NOAA buoy near Homer

KODIAK, Alaska – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Roanoke Island recovered an adrift National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration buoy and towed it about 30 miles to Homer Thursday.

Buoy 46106 reports weather duty had been adrift since Monday. It was more than 10 miles off station. Boatswains Mate 1st Class Rick Bowen did tide and current analysis to predict where the crew could locate the adrift buoy. The cutter crew used their small boat to reach the buoy, bring it alongside the cutter and take it in tow.

“The operation was somewhat difficult as we could not safely crane and secure the buoy on deck nor was the buoy designed to be towed,” said Lt. Cmdr. Eric Helgen, commanding officer Coast Guard Cutter Roanoke Island. “As a result, we had to transit at three to four knots in order to get the buoy back to Homer without damaging it.”

The Roanoke Island is a 100-foot Island Class patrol boat homeported in Homer. The crew’s primary missions include search and rescue, fisheries enforcement and homeland security.

Helgen added that this was a rare operation as the patrol boats do not usually execute aids-to-navigation work. The buoy will be serviced and put back on station by NOAA in the future.

For more information about NOAA buoys please visit the National Data Buoy Center at

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