Woods Hole Group

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Safely & Efficiently - This is How We Roll


Woods Hole Group offers an integrated routing and weather forecasting package in support of ocean-going vessels. RouteWatch®, is a comprehensive, multi-faceted product designed to increase transit efficiency, provide situational awareness, and mitigate risk during vessel/asset relocation projects. Increased transit efficiencies through either time or fuel savings are accomplished by helping vessels harness favorable ocean currents and avoid opposing flow.

In the event of a storm, we provide alternate routing strategies to both lessen the effects of winds/waves and manage the time penalty incurred by steering off track. All reports are assembled by experienced oceanographers/routing analysts and include a concise, informative narrative describing parameters considered, potential advantages/disadvantages of certain routes, and the expected metocean conditions along each.

The RouteWatch® service is unique in that each routing report can be tailored to the specific needs and requirements of the captain.

Voyage Optimization

  • Robust and highly-flexible numerical integration routine that involves calculation of set and drift along track, based on spatially and temporally interpolated current values.
  • A proprietary method utilizing HYCOM + NCODA reanalysis data is used to augment available forecast data to more accurately quantify time savings/loss for long-term and large-scale route alterations.

The Reports

  • Routing reports are submitted tri-weekly, while weather forecasts are submitted twice per day when underway. Reports are emailed in a low-bandwidth PDF format and are also made available through our online MetOcean Mapper portal.
  • Reports include high-quality and easy to understand color-enhanced maps and graphics that allow the captain to contextualize data from a multiplicity of data sources and enable quick comparison of different routes. Reports are also fitted with an expected time of arrival and time savings table calculated for various speeds through the water.
  • A large number of variables are considered in each routing update depending on the region, vessel type, and specific requirements/concerns conveyed by the captain.
  • Waypoints for recommend routes are provided in an easily importable file format to be passed to the onboard ECDIS system to confirm that the track is navigationally safe.

The MetOcean Mapper

  • The Mapper is an interactive, password-protected portal accessible by internet connection. A low-bandwidth version of the Mapper is available for users with limited connectivity.
  • A standalone GPS beacon is provided to the vessel and programmed to transmit one position per hour through the Iridium network of satellites. The vessel’s position is displayed as a ship icon along with the vessel’s present and recommended track.
  • Standard metocean layers include colorized Global Forecast System winds (GFS), Global Ensemble Ocean Wave Forecast System (GEOWaFS), HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM), and Real Time Ocean Forecast System (RTOFS). Additionally, we work in tandem with a team of meteorologists to display active tropical storm tracks, enhanced global infrared imagery, and lightning strikes. All layers update at regular intervals throughout the day.
  • Navigationally pertinent datasets available on the Mapper include GEBCO bathymetry (global 30 arc-second interval grid), lease areas and blocks, pipelines/platforms, traffic separation schemes, piracy exclusion zones, exclusive economic zones, and NOAA nautical charts.

Pre-Voyage Route Reviews/Planning

  • Comprehensive pre-departure route analysis and routing recommendations are available as a separate product and serve as an excellent route planning tool.
  • Reports are founded on the experience of our routing analysts, various metocean climatologies, and concerns/requirements communicated by the captain.

RouteWatch® Information Request Form:

Required Information
Optional Information

route optimization utilizing HYCOM

Transocean Falcon 100 under tow to Brazil

forecasted weather along vessel track

polar plot depicting angle of forecasted waves on the bow

Ocean Tug Retriever towing Heerema's SSCV Thialf

table depicting arrival time of underway vessel based on projected speed over ground