A multibeam and side-scan sonar survey to map and monitor an artificial reef off Florida has been completed with a unique autonomous surface vessel (ASV).


The ASV survey aimed to verify seafloor conditions and accurate reef placement. Photo: Morgan & Eklund

Morgan & Eklund (M&E) carried out the post-construction survey using a SeaRobotics (SR) 'Surveyor Class' ASV. The survey aimed to verify seafloor conditions and accurate reef placement offshore Fort Pierce along the Treasure Coast of eastern Florida.

Rob Collaro, director of M&E, said: “Our Remote Vehicle Services Division represents the latest chapter in how we leverage breaking technology to meet the surveying needs of Florida waters, beaches, and beyond by providing high quality, unbiased data to our clients.”

With its catamaran hull design, the SR-Surveyor M1.8 is a unique autonomous platform equipped with a multi-sensor package, that includes an EdgeTech 2205 multibeam echosounder, a 1,600 kHz and 540 kHz dual-beam side-scan sonar, an AML Oceanographic SV sound velocity sensor, and a Velodyne LIDAR for mapping features above the water surface. The SR-Surveyor M1.8 is an ideal platform to survey areas with limited access, where typical vessel operations are limited.

M&E's acquisition of the SR-Surveyor M1.8 is part of its strategy to develop an advanced Remote Vehicle Services Division to evolve hydrographic surveying technology using autonomous data acquisition whenever possible. This would support beach and coastal survey services and improve the cost effectiveness, efficiency, and safety of daily operations. The delivery of the SR-Surveyor M1.8 is the first vehicle in a multi-vehicle order. M&E plans to expand its fleet with additional SR-Surveyor M1.8 vehicles and the larger Utility Class ASV from SR–the SR-Utility 3.0.

By Rebecca Jeffrey