Lake Michigan buoycam season ending

Port Sheldon, buoy
The Port Sheldon buoy being towed back to shore Tuesday morning by owner LimnoTech.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Port Sheldon buoycam sponsored by WOOD TV8 was pulled from Lake Michigan for the season Tuesday.

Owner LimnoTech also attempted retrieval of its Lake Michigan buoy near South Haven, but determined the water was too rough. LimnoTech said it plans to get the buoy as soon as there is a calm day on the lake.

The two buoys located two miles off shore from Port Sheldon and South Haven get pulled in each year before winter, normally in October. But because of persistent rough weather on Lake Michigan, they are being pulled later than ever this year.

Port Sheldon, buoy
Photo: The Port Sheldon buoy being towed back to shore Tuesday morning by owner LimnoTech.

Through the spring, summer and early fall, the buoys provide valuable weather and lake data and videos for boaters, swimmers and fishermen. High-definition video cameras on the buoys give Storm Team 8 meteorologists and viewers a unique look at Lake Michigan.

“There are days  when water temperatures out there are quite variable, and the air sitting over the lake can be highly modified by the lake. That, and I think it’s fun to show the rocking buoys out on Lake Michigan,” Storm Team 8 chief meteorologist Bill Steffen said.

South Haven, buoycam
Photo: The view from the South Haven buoy at 4 p.m. Nov. 7, 2017.

To remove the buoys, a long line is attached to the anchor lead. That line is dropped to the lake bottom and LimnoTech uses a big hook to retrieve it in the spring. The buoys will be stored in the safe confines of LimnoTech’s facility in Ann Arbor.

The buoys will go back into service in April.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration also has two buoys on Lake Michigan. One is 40 miles west of Holland and the other is southwest of Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan. Those buoys are retrieved in mid-November.