The effects of climate change on the near shore coastal environment including ocean acidification, accelerated erosion, destruction of coral reefs, and damage to marine habitat have highlighted the need for improved equipment to study, monitor, and evaluate these changes . This is especially true where areas of study are remote, large, or beyond depths easily accessible to divers. To this end, we have developed three examples of low cost and easily deployable real-time ocean observation platforms. We followed a scalable design approach adding complexity and capability as familiarity and experience were gained with system components saving both time and money by reducing design mistakes. The purpose of this paper is to provide information for the researcher, technician, or engineer who finds themselves in need of creating or acquiring similar platforms.