Coastal British Columbia

The VENUS observatory in the Salish Sea is represented by a series of installations in Saanich Inlet and Strait of Georgia.

Saanich Inlet 

The Saanich Inlet network consists of cabled arrays of instruments in Mill Bay, Patricia Bay and an autonomous mooring at the entrance (sill) to the inlet. Two cabled surface buoys are connected to the Patricia Bay installation, supporting a technology testbed facility (Patricia Bay) and a full water column observation station (Coles Bay).

      Patricia Bay

  • Seafloor network at 100 m depth connected to a shore station at the Institute of Ocean Sciences (IOS)
  • Surface buoy based Ocean Technology Testbed (OTTB) designed and built to support engineering and technology development.
  • Surface based Buoy Profiling System (BPS) designed and built for water column measurements off Coles Bay in central Saanich Inlet.
  • Autonomous Underwater Vehicle ("Bluefin")

      Mill Bay 

  • A community observatory at Brentwood College with basic sensors that measure water properties at 8 m depth.

Strait of Georgia

A network with three sites on seafloor at Central, East and Fraser Delta locations of the southern Strait of Georgia, and surface-based systems on BC Ferries, Iona Causeway, and Coal Port terminal. Installations in the Strait of Georgia include: 

  • Seafloor networks linking 3 nodes at 300 m (Central), 175 m (East), and 170 m (Fraser Delta)
  • Shore-based High Frequency radar (CODAR with 2 antennas) 
  • Instrumentation on BC Ferries vessels ("Seekeeper") 
  • Ocean glider (Webb "Slocum")

Site List

Strait of Georgia

Depth: 300 m
Setting: Inland basin
Studies: water properties, currents, acoustics

Saanich Inlet

Depth: 100 m
Setting: Fjord
Studies: low oxygen, forensics, plankton, sediments

Prince Rupert

Depth: 28 m
Setting: Coastal British Columbia, Digby Island, Ridley Island
Studies: Coastal monitoring, surface currents, waves

Mill Bay

Depth: 8 m
Setting: Inlet Shoreline
Studies: Air-sea boundary, biology, near-shore water properties

Middle Valley

Not yet instrumented

Depth: 2400 m
Setting: Seismically active area on the northern end of the Juan de Fuca ridge
Studies: Plate tectonics, seismicity, hydrothermal vent systems and ecosystems, mid-ocean ridges

Kitamaat Village

Depth: 40 m
Setting: Coastal British Columbia, Kitamaat Village
Studies: Coastal monitoring, surface currents, waves

Folger Passage

Depths: 20-100 m
Setting: Continental Shelf
Studies: Ocean biogeochemistry, terrestrial-marine interactions, coastal processes, plankton, fish, marine mammals and other organisms


Depth: 2200-2400 m
Setting: Mid-ocean ridge
Studies: Plate tectonics, seismicity, volcanism, flow over rough topography, plume dynamics, hydrothermal vent systems and ecosystems

Clayoquot Slope

Depth: 1250 m
Setting: Continental slope
Studies: Gas hydrates, seafloor fluids and gases, Cascadia margin, earthquakes, deep-sea organisms

Cascadia Basin

Depth: 2660 m
Setting: Abyssal plain
Studies: Ocean crust, hydrology, geochemistry, tsunamis, abyssal plain, benthic ecosystems

Campbell River

Depth: -6 to 10 m
Setting: Coastal British Columbia, Campbell River
Studies: Coastal monitoring, surface currents, waves

Barkley Canyon

Depth: 400-1000 m
Setting: Shelf/slope break; submarine canyon
Studies: Gas hydrates, sediment dynamics, upwelling, plankton, productivity


Coastal British Columbia Observatory Map

The Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea (VENUS) has been in continual operation since February, 2006. Deployed in the coastal waters of southern British Columbia, the facility provides long-term oceanographic data on physical, chemical, biological, and sediment conditions in Saanich Inlet and in the Strait of Georgia near Vancouver, British Columbia.