About us




If not now, when?

Blue Ocean Gear uses technology to develop fishing gear that can enable sustainable fishing practices. We create solutions that help align a healthy ocean environment and the fishing industry that depends upon it.


Our first product, a Smart Buoy system, aims to prevent both the economic and environmental impacts of lost fishing gear for the fishermen, fleets, and the fisheries they work in.


UN Goal 14: Life Below Water

The United Nations’ list of 17 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) to improve life on our planet includes Goal 14: Life Below Water—to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”.


Blue Ocean Gear’s Mission aligns strongly with the UN SDG 14 by addressing marine pollution and working toward sustainable fisheries. We want the ocean to be around for us to use today and far into the future.


Kortney Opshaug, Ph.D.


Dr. Kortney Opshaug is the Founder and CEO of Blue Ocean Gear. She has over 20 years of engineering and management experience in the fields of both marine and aerospace technology at companies including Deep Ocean Engineering, Lockheed Martin, and Space Systems/Loral. Prior to founding Blue Ocean Gear, Dr. Opshaug worked at USRA directing the Mission Operations team for NASA’s SOFIA program. She has developed the patented and patent-pending technology behind the Blue Ocean Gear’s devices. Her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees were earned in Aerospace Engineering from MIT, and she received a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Kevin Johnson


Kevin Johnson is the Lead Mechatronics Systems Engineer at Blue Ocean Gear. He has worked at Microsoft HoloLens and several startups such as Symmetry Labs, and Meta Co. Through working at these companies and doing personal side projects, he provides a great deal of IoT design and electrical / mechatronic systems experience. Kevin obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in electrical engineering from UCSC and Stanford University, respectively. While at both universities, his focus was on mastering the integration of electrical, mechanical and software systems.

Helen Shaughnessy

Head of Product and Marketing

Helen Shaughnessy is the Head of Product and Marketing at Blue Ocean Gear. She has been a driver of products for over 25 years, having roles in product development, management, and marketing. Her expertise was earned in hardware and SaaS software companies for startups and large companies including Dell, Arena Solutions, and Reactrix Systems. She holds 5 patents and has several pending. Ms. Shaughnessy earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and Stanford University, respectively, and her MBA from Berkeley-Haas.

Technical Advisory Board

Stephen Rock, Ph.D.

Dr. Rock is a professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and is the director of the Aerospace Robotics Laboratory at Stanford University. He also holds an Adjunct position at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Bill Kirkwood

Mr. Kirkwood is currently the Senior Research and Development Engineer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Since 1991, he has held a number of positions in MBARI’s engineering department including ME Supervisor, Associate Director of Engineering and Director of Engineering.


Blue Ocean Gear partners with other organizations to keep fishermen fishing in healthy oceans.

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