The rapid expansion of urbanization along the world’s coastal areas requires a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of the coastal ocean. Over the past several decades, numerical ocean circulation models have tried to provide such insight, based on our developing understanding of physical ocean processes. The systematic establishment of coastal ocean observation systems adopting cutting-edge technology, such as High Frequency (HF) radar, satellite sensing, gliders, etc., has put such ocean model predictions to the test, by providing comprehensive observational datasets for the validation of numerical model forecasts. The New York Harbor Observing and Prediction System (NYHOPS) is a comprehensive system for understanding coastal ocean processes of the Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB) which includes the continental shelf waters New York and New Jersey. To increase confidence in the system’s ocean circulation predictions in that area, a detailed validation exercise was carried out using HF radar and Lagrangian drifter-derived surface currents from ocean currents-following drifters. The assimilation of HF radar currents greatly improved the ocean model performance.