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Diving With Sensors: How Underwater Sensors Can Improve Diver Safety

The work of professional divers is often extremely dangerous.

Poor water visibility, night diving, brackish water and hazardous underwater terrains contribute to the high risk of injury and death professional divers face over a working lifetime.

Over the past 30 years, Tritech products have been used by Commercial, Public Safety and Military divers to assist in their missions and to help reduce the dangers to these professionals.

Tritech has developed a range of diver assisting sensors and in this short article we will cover how these can effectively aid divers and improve diver safety by correct deployment.                                                           

Diver Mounted Display

Vision in zero visibility conditions – On the Diver Mounted Display, the Gemini multibeam imaging sonar is mounted at head height and sends a sonar image to the diver who is fitted with a monocle on the external of their mask or helmet. The sonar gives the diver a clear picture of the water ahead for up to 120m, even when the water has very low or zero visibility. This helps divers avoid obstacles and quickly identify targets.

Tethered or Untethered options – The Diver Mounted Display comes as either a Tethered or Untethered system, dependant on your team's requirements. The Tethered system allows the top-side dive team to view the sonar data at the same time as the diver. This allows the dive team and the diver to work together to find what they are looking for. Where there is a risk of entanglement or a need for total diver freedom, the Untethered system can be used. The Subsea Computer records the sonar data which can be reviewed at a later date or to help with training.

Shorter mission times – The DMD has been used extensively by Public Safety Dive Teams in the USA who are reporting that their standard drowning victim recovery mission time has been reduced from several hours to several minutes. This is because the DMD enables the diver to safely locate their target quickly, travel towards it and inspect the target in zero visibility. The DMD reduces the need for extensive diver search patterns and limits the time in water for the diver.

Mechanical Scanning Sonar: SeaKing Hammerhead

Static deployment – The SeaKing Hammerhead is often used by Search and Recovery Dive Teams as, once deployed on the seabed, the sonar does not need to be manned as it is operated from the top side. The sonar can be deployed by a diver or, more commonly, is dropped from the side of a boat and lowered to the seabed. This allows dive teams to locate the target in advance and plan the recovery mission before the diver enters the water.

Target identification – This type of mechanical scanning sonar offers a large search area with up to 200m covered in a single rotation of the transducer. This means a seabed survey of a large area can be completed in a much shorter period of time than by using manual search patterns.

Detailed, 360 images – The SeaKing Hammerhead returns highly detailed, 360 images meaning targets, such as a submerged car, can be located from a distance as they are clearly identifiable on the returned image.

USBL Tracking System: MicronNav 200

Multiple diver tracking – The MicronNav 200 USBL Tracking system has the capacity to track up to a team of 16 divers with a standard system. With Tritech's bespoke software, the divers will be displayed on one screen meaning tracking multiple dive team members is easy to do in open water conditions.

Integrated Google Maps – Tritech's Genesis software, which is used to display the data received from the MicronNav 200, has integrated Google Maps™ making the data returned when tracking divers easier to understand as it is applied to real-world Google Maps™ tiles. This improves situational awareness for the topside dive team, especially when there are multiple divers in the water.

Battery powered underwater modems – The MicronNav 200 is compatible with the Micron Battery Modem which is self-powered. This eliminates the need for divers to carry pony-mounted battery packs to power the transponder required for tracking. The Micron Battery Modem is light and compact, weighing only 450g in water.

 Tritech sensors are available to trial before purchase: please contact Tritech Sales for options. Our technical support is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.