1st Voyage - October 2019

In October 2019, students at Winnacunnet High School prepared their miniboat Riptide for a research expedition: To better understand sea turtle strandings in Massachusetts Bay. Partners included NOAA NEFSC/GOMLF, Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Refuge, University of Rhode Island, and Cape Cod Schools.

  • October 2019 - Preparations

    Working with Felicia Page (URI graduate student), several different types of drifters were deployed to demonstrate differences in their tracks. In addition to standard surface drifters deployed by oceanographers, multiple kinds of mock wooden turtles as well as subsurface drogues and miniboats in 2019 were also deployed. 

    Here is a picture of a couple of the students getting ready to paint the hull.

    Photo thanks to Winnacunnet High

  • October 31, 2019 - Launched and landed November 1

    The first voyage of the Riptide was on October 31 and was accompanied by two surface drifters from Boston College High School (Boston, MA) and decorated by Boys Town New England (Portsmouth, RI).

    The miniboat stranded quickly on 31 October around 22:39 GMT and was recovered by a WBWS volunteer on 1 November around 14:45 GMT.

  • Voyage 1 - Complete

    Read above for all the details of the first voyage of the Riptide.

2nd Voyage November 2019

  • November 14, 2019 - Launched and landed

    Here is the Riptide at sea for its second voyage in Massachusetts Bay which was on 14 November around 15:30 GMT. The Riptide was accompanied by drifters from Bethlehem Elementary (NH) and Lawrence School (Falmouth, MA).

    The miniboat landed around 21:41 GMT on 14 November. Ted Bauer (pictured) volunteered to recover it and brought it to the Albatross to relaunch.

  • Voyage 2 - Complete

    Read above for all the details of the second voyage of the Riptide.

3rd Voyage - November 2019

  • November 15, 2019 - Launched and Landed

    On its third voyage which began 15 November, accompanied drifters decorated and built by Falmouth High School (Falmouth, MA), it landed in the sand dunes. Thanks to Ms. Boland who was visiting the Cape who helped to recover it and bring it back to Audubon for redeployment. Also thanks to NH State Trooper Lazos for this efforts as well! The local community is helping out a lot with this research project and we are very grateful.

  • Voyage 3 - Complete

    Read above for all the details of the third voyage of the Riptide.

4th Voyage - November 2019

  • November 19, 2019 - Launched and Landed

    The Riptide’s fourth voyage began on 19 November and was accompanied drifters from decorated by Cape Cod Academy (Osterville, MA).

    The miniboat landed several hours after deployment on Jeremy Pt, was recovered by the Wellfleet Harbor Master on 20 November.

  • Voyage 4 - Complete

    Read above for all the details of the fourth voyage of the Riptide.

5th Voyage - November 2019

  • November 23, 2019 - Launched and Landed

    The Riptide was released for a 5th time in Mass Bay on November 23, accompanied by redeployed drifters from Falmouth High. Thanks to beachwalker Bud Walcoulder it has been safely recovered.

  • Voyage 5 - Complete

    Read above for all the details of the fifth voyage of the Riptide.

6th Voyage - November 2019

  • November 26, 2019 - Launched and Landed

    The sixth voyage of the Riptide was on 26 November and was accompanied by redeployed drifters from Bethlehem Elementary. Thanks to Natalie for moving the boat to safety and Paul and Diane Teta who recovered it.

  • Voyage 6 - Complete

    Read above for all the details of the sixth voyage of the Riptide.

7th Voyage - 2022

The Riptide is back in action to help us all better understand cold stunned sea turtle strandings in Cape Cod Bay! Thanks to students at Falmouth High School have been repairing and upgrading three miniboats to collect data during the 2022-2023 stranding season.

  • 7th Voyage

    Riptide is one of 3 miniboats getting an upgraded cargo hold and to be relaunched in Cape Cod Bay to study cold-stunned sea turtles in collaboration with Falmouth High School.

    December 21, 2022

    The Riptide and Rockstar were both released into Cape Cod Bay around 1pm local time thanks to the US Coast Guard and specifically CPO Larry Johnson.

    December 22, 2022

    Overnight the two miniboats sailed northeast across the Bay and started to loop around:


    A David Young while on his boat found the Riptide off the beach near Race Point around 8:30am and relaunched it a few miles away.

    The winds shifted and sent both boats out of the Bay.

    Riptide made landfall in Scituate that evening around 1:30 GMT (Rock Star did as well about a half hour later to the south).

    Jim Manning reached out to longtime colleague Ben Haskell who is the Deputy Superintendent of the NOAA Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary because Riptide landed right near their office! Ben reached out to his staff, but a massive storm was also approaching the area, so recovery was not certain.

    December 23, 2022

    We awoke to an email thread with Dave Slocum and Michael Thompson from the SBNMS, who had ventured out in the early morning to recover the Riptide – and they were successful!

    They also searched for Rock Star, which landed a bit further south but that made recovery of it more challenging with the storm and incoming tide. By afternoon they had found it and brought it back to the Boathouse!

    Thanks to Ben, Mike, Amy, Dave, and Jim for the teamwork that made this a great success.

    January 10, 2023

    Jim Manning drove up to the SBNMS office and recovered the two boats that had been stored over the holiday break. He got to meet up with Ben (pictured in blue vest) and others while he was there, and thank them in person for their recovery efforts.

    The two miniboats are now back at Falmouth High School with the third in their fleet that did not get launched, the Scarborough Sailor.

    January 6, 2023

    Falmouth Public Schools shared about the project in their “Clipper Corner” on January 6, 2023. To read the article by Sarah Murphy, click here: Falmouth Education Foundation Fosters Citizen Science 

  • 7th Voyage - Complete

    Read above for all the details of the 7th voyage of the RIPTIDE.

8th Voyage - 2023

  • December 2, 2023 - Relaunched into Cape Cod Bay

    The project continued into the 2023-2024 school year.

    Cold Stunned Sea Turtle Research Continues


    December 2, 2023

    Captain Dave of the F/V Grace Sarah launched a suite of units for this project during the early morning of December 2, 2023, including miniboats RIPTIDE and ROCK STAR (both with sensor packs) and two Makerbuoy Drifters!


  • 8th Voyage - Complete

    Read above for all the details of the 8th voyage of the RIPTIDE.

Voyage 9

  • December 15, 2023: 2nd Deployment

    The miniboats have been at the school in Falmouth, but on Dec 14, miniboat crew member Stacey Strong delivered them to the docks in Sandwich, MA.

    The next day, Captain Rob of the F/V Resolve took out the two miniboats and student build drifters, all launched around 8am.


    By the afternoon, Riptide sailed onto Duck Harbor Beach right in front of a couple that was walking the beach. They called the number and took the boat out of the surf for us. Rock Star is expected to land later, so a recovery of both will probably happen later this weekend.

    The RIPTIDE was relaunched with two GPS systems onboard. The location reports will show on the map at the top of this page here (which updates hourly with new positions if available).

    Here below is where you can see the data reporting from the second GPS which is connected to a custom sensor package. In addition to reporting location with a secondary GPS tracker, this system is also collecting air temperature, water temperature, and orientation of the boat.

    Please note that the map below will only the last 7 days of data and may include invalid points and data. If you are interested in looking at the data in a different format from the whole voyage, contact us.

    This is the data reporting from the sensor pack on RIPTIDE:

This miniboat is being deployed multiple times in an effort to gather information about winds and currents in Massachusetts Bay to correlate with sea turtle strandings.