Primary Goals: The prize competition’s primary objective was to encourage innovation, promote and find novel approaches to develop a buoy mooring system that would update the current system, while having minimal environmental impact. The challenge also provided the USCG with innovative technologies and ideas that could be engaged outside of a traditional contract. A viable solution will significantly enhance environmental stewardship for this crucial subset of the Nation’s navigational system.
Results: The prize competition advanced the USCG’s research and development of an approach for mooring buoys in environmentally-sensitive areas. The winning idea provided a potential solution using commercially available items configured in a new system not previously envisioned. The proposed system uses an ultra-high strength poly-fiber rope with inner elastic cords and screw anchor that potentially causes less damage to the coral reefs and seagrass areas. The idea also proposes the use of a more secure anchor that may decrease the chance of the buoy moving off its station.
Winner: Cole Keaoulu Santo of Maui, Hawaii. He is a scuba dive instructor and self-employed real estate professional, and has experience building and maintaining moorings locally on Maui, where mooring conservation is an important topic. He developed his winning proposal after observing several different types of mooring and anchoring techniques, including using divers to install manta moorings locally, screw-type anchors used in Australia, and elastic mooring cables employed in New England., Santos is a founding member of a makerspace organization, Maui Makers LLC. One of his life goals is to build artificial islands for seasteading and space habitats.