The eMOLT Program now has forty vessels sending bottom temperatures in realtime, with more planned for 2020. As the gear is hauled on deck, sensors automatically send data to a computer in the wheelhouse and plots it. The system also relays the position along with averaged temperature and depths via the satellite. Well over 8,200 hauls have reported to date. 

The current system consists of three main parts:

  1. The foot-long wireless temperature & depth probe is secured to the doors inside PVC pipe with stainless bolts. In fixed gear cases (lobster traps, longline, etc), the fisherman secures the probe however he sees fit. The probe collects data every minute up to six months on one battery charge.
  2. The micro-computer with 7” touchscreen is mounted in the wheelhouse. As the probe comes on deck, the computer automatically downloads the data via a bluetooth connection and plots the results with a toggle button allowing fishermen to easily view previous hauls. It also calculates trawl statistics, compares observed values to historical records, and relays the statistics to a satellite transmitter.
  3. The satellite transmitter is mounted above the wheelhouse and sends statistics of each haul to an online map where positions are binned to 10-mile-squares.

The system costs a few thousand dollars and is funded primarily by NOAA’s a) Northeast Cooperative Research Branch (connected with the Study Fleet Program) and b) Integrated Ocean Observing System.  The primary objective in the long run is to assimilate the bottom temperatures into numerical ocean models, much the same way NWS uses observations of air temperatures on land in their forecast runs.

If you are a year-round fisherman in relatively deep water and would like to try the new instrumentation, please let us know by emailing or To download this page as a PDF, click here.

The system is designed to be totally automatic after it is installed. The installation usually takes less than an hour for two trained technicians with their own tools. All that is required is:

  • 10 minutes of  Captain’s time in determining:
    • the best place to install system parts
    • How to thread a wire topside
  • Electric power for a micro-computer in the wheelhouse;
  • 10 minutes of Captain’s time to demo the system and bookmark websites in wheelhouse; and
  • Hotspot/wifi password to send raw data