How Gulf Stream impacting search for missing boaters

Boaters missing since Friday

ORLANDO, Fla.- – The Gulf Stream is an intense ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico, bends around Florida and then turns toward Europe off the coast of North Carolina. The current, moving south to north, transports very warm Gulf water into the Atlantic.

Satellites can easily distinguish where the Gulf Stream is located by the drastic change in temperature between the current (purple) and the relatively cooler water just outside.

Currently, the Gulf Stream is located anywhere from 20-40 miles off the east coast of Florida. 

The Gulf Stream has an average speed of 4 mph, but can be as swift as nearly 6 mph. This can transport objects quickly north, further up the Florida coast and even into the Carolinas. If the boat made its way into the Gulf Stream, it could be hundreds of miles north of Port Canaveral, where the boat was launched.

To account for the fast northward motion of the Gulf Stream, searching has occurred as far north as Charleston, South Carolina.

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