The ocean has a lot to tell us—but how to listen, and what to do in response, isn’t always obvious.
Enter Dr. Scott Beatty’s MarineLabs Data Systems, a Victoria-based coastal intelligence company. This BC startup has created smart technology that can be attached to any floating surface that monitors wave activity wherever their sensors are located.
Harnessing the data of the ocean could upend the way we view maritime navigation, believes Beatty. In a province like BC with so much coast and so many waterways, finding high resolution data for routing and building decisions is a major coup.
CoastAware, the company’s flagship technology, is used by clients like the Port of Prince Rupert, the University of Victoria, the Government of Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, and BC Ferries. Last year a First Nation began collaborating with MarineLabs to gain a better understanding of ongoings in the Sooke Basin.
The T’Sou-ke First Nation on southern Vancouver Island has concerns about the basin, a sheltered cove around 20 kilometres west of Victoria. Reports of dead marine life, an important traditional food source, have stressed locals. Moreover, pollution in the form of abandoned ships and mining waste has affected shellfish harvesting in recent decades. On land, rapid development spurred the B.C.’s Ministry of Environment in 2019 to recommend regular monitoring of the basin’s water.
Clean-tech rising star MarineLabs is gaining data on the Sooke Basin through its CoastAware “smart buoys,” which are able to detect wind speed, wave size, vessel traffic, and water salinity and temperature.
T’Sou-ke Nation Chief Gordon Planes believes that the insight from MarineLabs’ work will “set a foundation for the future.”
“Knowing a history of what’s been happening in the last few years will be able to really tell us where we are,” Planes told Courtney Dickson for CBC News.
With a PHD in Ocean Wave Energy and Ocean Engineering from the University of Victoria, Dr. Beatty leveraged his love of the ocean and his scientific training to launch MarineLabs and develop solutions for those needing to design breakwaters, harbours, ports, marinas, and more.
MarineLabs was founded by Beatty in Victoria in 2017.