Aluminum Drifter Irina

Irina design (recommended current design)

Our current surface drifter model in use is the aluminum-framed “Irina” drifter, and we recently began using reinforced spars that seem to bend much less easily.

Through the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation, we provide drifter kits which contain all the materials (mast and spars, canvas cloth, buoy, transmitter, etc.) you need to build this drifter. Note that tools are not included such as scissors and a power drill.

To purchase a kit, click here.

Part 1: Build

The Irina drifter is assembled with 4 aluminum spars, one square mast, four canvas sails, a buoy, and transmitter. For detailed instructions and material list of the kit we provide, click here.

Part 2: Deploy

We are happy to work with you to help deploy your drifter in the best spot. We will also program your transmitter to the frequency you want, and make sure maps are provided of your drifter’s tracks. 

Deployment checklist – We are currently working on creating a deployment checklist for drifter users. Check back soon!

Part 3: Track

All current month’s tracks are available at: https://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/drifter/drift_X.html. You’ll also get a map specific to your drifter, and a webpage here on the Student Drifters website if you wish.

A note on design

We keep the basic configuration/size the same in order to maintain the oceanographic-standard drag but try to use materials available at any hardware store. The idea is that the drifter can be built in any high school shop class, for example. It is a project in materials science. See our full list of models under the “Drifter History” tab. They all have a cross-sectional area of approximately one square meter and, since the electronic package is getting smaller, we have been able to further reduce the windage with each new design.