Research Vessel

NOAA Research Vessel at Dock

Shipboard Weather Stations | Research Vessels

Coastal Environmental Systems has outfitted many research vessels in the last 10 to 15 years with the WEATHERPAK® weather station. In the earlier years, when GPS was not available, Coastal was one of the few companies in the world that could deliver TRUE winds on board a ship. The built-in compass could be "swung" in order to compensate for the various magnetic effects of the ship, and ship speed could be extracted from other instruments on board.

WEATHERPAK on Norseman II Research Vessel WEATHERPAK on Norseman II Research Vessel

WEATHERPAK® on Norseman II Research Vessel

In many more recent cases Coastal just feeds the data in NMEA 0183 to the ships’ systems and those systems are responsible for calculating TRUE wind speed and direction.

The research vessels range from large to small, from fair weather ships to polar icebreakers. They are from various countries and have a variety of missions or duties. Many of the UNALS ships (collection of University ships for research) have Coastal shipboard weather stations. The US Navy TAG-60 research vessels use Coastal WEATHERPAK® weather stations as does the NATO research vessel Alliance.

One commonality of research vessels is that each is unique. Each ship has either:

  • a special compliment of scientists with particular interests or
  • it must accommodate different scientists on different voyages that have different equipment needs (sometimes bringing their own specialized equipment which needs to connect into the weather station).

This was the driving force for much of the design of Coastal's weather station. They must be very flexible and easy to expand or modify (IN PLACE). These modifications can be done quite easily, simply through configuration of the system. There is seldom – if ever – any reason to write computer code.

Research applications are all custom, so COTS components are typically configured in a way to meet the needs of the research vessel. The use of COTS components minimizes the risk and maximizes the MTBF. A ship is not a place to experiment with products designed for typical land use or to deploy prototypes (unless forced to). Ships are at sea for long periods of time, end up in different ports and are difficult (at best) to communicate with – even when on station.

For more on meteorological instruments used in military applications, please contact us.

Coastal's Shipboard Brochure (PDF)        Estaciones Meteorológicas a Bordo (PDF)

Standard Sensors:

Wind speed and direction, relative humidity, air temperature, dew point, barometric pressure, visibility, present weather, cloud height, lightning detection, freezing rain, conductivity, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and others. Please contact us for a complete listing. (Sensor Specifications)


Standard ships power.


A variety of displays is available including: Flat panel TFT, vacuum fluorescent, LCD, and all monitor types.

User Interface/Display Software:

Several packages and third party software are available for specialized applications. Coastal makes INTERCEPT® software to collect, display, archive and share data.

Standard Shipboard Products:

WEATHERPAK® Shipboard Weather Station     C-5 SAM/N™ Shipboard Weather Station