For over 10 years, there has been an idea to have cameras mounted onto Buoys in order to keep watch over the seas and lend a hand to the Coastguard by sending images of vessels as they pass. This would help identify pirates, smugglers, and even boats carrying migrants.
The issue has been developing a camera that could take clear images in the middle of the Ocean, with problems such as the constant motion of the waves and keeping the lens clean from salt-spray.
A research group at the University of South Florida have developed a buoy-mounted CCTV surveillance system. This system is able to link to the cameras and identify passing vessels in order to track them. The researchers have overcome the issue of the movement of the waves, by having the cameras fixed on the horizon. Anything that sticks above the horizon is picked out.
The prototype has correctly detected and identified vessels up to 300 metres away in over 500 tests that have been run by the researchers. The 88% success rate is expected to increase to 98% once the team has refined the algorithm some more.
If this idea works, it could become a system that is depended upon worldwide to identify hostile or troubled vessels alongside the Coastguard and other services. It would mean safer voyages for Seafarer’s and tourists and could also assist with scientific marine research.
Follow the below link to see the images from the Buoy cams stationed around North America: https://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/buoycams.shtml