Galway family on 14 month sailing voyage lends a hand to the Marine Institute

Galway Daily news Family deploys argo float on sailing voyage

A Galway family taking a 14 month long sailing trip around the Atlantic Ocean took some time from their trip to deploy a new sensor float for the Marine Institute.

The Quinlan-Owens family, parents Vera and Peter, and their two children Lilian and Ruairi, deployed the Argo float while sailing from the Cape Verde Islands to French Guinea.

They set off from Galway last July aboard their yacht Danu, and their long trip around the Atlantic will finish up in New York next September.


Vera is a hydrographer for INFOMAR, the national seabed mapping programme, which is jointly managed by the Marine Institute and Geological Survey Ireland.

Argo floats are deployed in oceans all over the world to continuously monitor the ocean and gather data that will help predict oceanic conditions, interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere, as well as long-term climate trends.

They’re capable of gathering information on the temperature and salinity of the ocean up to 2,000m below the surface, important data for better understanding climate change and its effect on the ocean.

This data is transmitted via satellite every 10 days for the three to four years of the Argo Float’s lifespan and its location can be tracked at

lan Berry, Ocean Science and Information Services at the Marine Institute said that they usually deploy Argo floats during research surveys in the North Atlantic.

“Vera’s sailing trip offered the opportunity for an Irish Argo float to be deployed much further south, near the equator,” Ian said.

“We thank Vera and her family for participating in the Argo Programme, and to Lilian and Ruairi for sharing this experience with their classmates so they can also learn about the importance of monitoring our oceans.”

Before heading off Lilian and Ruairi showed the Marine Institute’s Argo Float to their classmates at Kilcolgan Educate Together National School, where the primary school kids all signed their names to the float.

The Marine Institute has deployed 20 Argo floats in the Atlantic over the past decade, averaging three a year since 2015 as part of the Euro-Argo ERIC programme.

Worldwide the International Argo Programme maintains approximately 4,000 floats gathering data on ocean conditions.