Plan Your Trip

A yellow weather buoy floating on the surface of the ocean.
The yellow weather buoy is the only navigation aid in the sanctuary and provides researchers with weather and dissolved carbon dioxide data. Photo: Alison Soss/NOAA

Gray's Reef is a popular location for recreational diving and fishing. Recreational divers and anglers like yourself play a vital role in keeping the sanctuary habitats healthy for generations to come. Support your sanctuary by practicing sustainable diving and fishing techniques.

New and avid boaters alike should review safe boating practices, check current and forecasted weather conditions, and ensure the correct gear is loaded and safely stored on the vessel. Boater safety is a critical part of recreational diving and fishing. To make it easy to remember what to do when you're on the water, we've created a checklist for you below.

Boating Safety Tips and Tools


  • Will a storm move in while you're on the water? Check NOAA's marine forecast and be in the know before you go.
  • Use your NOAA Weather Radio to stay alert to weather hazards in the area.
  • Review local weather forecasts.
  • Check the Gray's Reef Weather Buoy (Station 41008) for current sea state information including information on wind speed and direction, wave heights and period, air and water temperature, and an image of the sea conditions.
  • Have a storm plan in place unique to your type of boat, gear and marine environment. Be sure anyone who fishes or dives with you knows how to execute the plan.

While Aboard

  • Every passenger should wear a life jacket. Always. Take the 'Wear It' Pledge.
  • Perform a VHF marine radio check on VHF Channel 09, which has been designated by the FCC as a boater's calling channel.
  • Understand the danger of cold water and how to prepare for and survive in it should you accidently go overboard.

Recreate Responsibly

Additional Resources

Additional resources for recreational boaters from the National Ocean Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Find other ways to Get Into Your Sanctuary.

National Data Buoy Center

A map of the East Coast of the United States with yellow squares indicating the location of weather sensors
A worldwide network of buoys and weather sensors provides NOAA with reliable predictions for hurricanes. Map: National Data Buoy Center

The NOAA National Data Buoy Center provides quality observations in the marine environment in a safe and sustainable manner to support the understanding and predictions of changes in weather, climate, oceans, and coast. The Center maintains a network of data buoys and coastal stations along the entire U.S. coast and various locations internationally.

NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) logo

NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) is a federal laboratory that makes critical observations and conducts groundbreaking research to advance our knowledge of the global ocean and its interactions with the Earth, atmosphere, ecosystems, and climate.