Information on ocean waves, currents, winds and sea surface heights is very important to ocean farers for effective navigation and safety at sea. This is crucial as ocean transportation remains the main means of transport of goods and services. Ocean state products provide information to users about their safety at sea and help plan on the safest routes and times of embarkation. This is especially useful to artisanal fishers who most often are at the mercy of the weather and use less sophisticated equipment making them vulnerable at sea.
Forecasts of ocean condition are disseminated as SMS texts to local fishermen designated as “1” for CALM, “2” for ROUGH, and “3” for DANGEROUS. This dissemination is done through mandated fisheries institutions in the region.
On the ground,within the local fishing communities, opinion leaders and chief fishermen are encouraged to share the information received, using flags of different colours. Green represents 'CALM', yellow goes for 'ROUGH' and finally the Red flag signifies 'DANGEROUS'. The flags are often planted at vantage points for other fishermen to locate them easily. Prior to this, they are, of course, educated to interprete the flags.
This information are available to all 12 beneficiary countries and most of them are really making good use of it.