Many of us can relate to losing something meaningful to the forces of the ocean. I still remember the seafoam green Nike shorts I lost on a kayaking adventure back in 2013. RIP. Sometimes the losses are purely sentimental, but many times, especially in a commercial setting, the losses can be extremely costly. Regardless of whether objects are lost, or placed at the bottom of the ocean intentionally, retrieval is no simple task.
Recovering such objects has long been a job left to divers, whose services carry a hefty price tag. Not only are divers expensive, but there are undeniable safety concerns with sending humans down to depths of the ocean. Divers are also considerably limited in the amount of time they can perform tasks at depth. Many of these issues are solved with the use of an ROV, and our friends at the first offshore aquaculture facility in US federal waters, Catalina Sea Ranch (CSR) have been successfully using their BlueROV2 (equipped with custom tools) for a number of object recovery missions.
Custom recovery tool.
The first and obvious challenge of retrieving an object is finding it. Without an ROV, it could take hours, days, even months to find what’s under the surface in an area. I recently had the chance to join CSR’s crew on a rescue mission and observe first-hand how the BlueROV2 can be used as a strategic asset for object recovery. The task of the day was the retrieval of a lead weight used in the company’s anchor installation system. Capitalizing on the prior week’s success with the BlueROV2 capturing three separate pieces of scientific monitoring technologies installed on the seafloor, a second revision of the custom capture device would ferry a lifting line to the lost weight on the bottom. At 1 ton and with no convenient attachment point for the retrieval mechanism, this mission was exactly the kind of challenge the Sea Ranch crew was familiar with.
Check out the sensor retrieval footage below!
A BlueROV2 with the new Low-Light USB Camera was fitted with a PVC tube that served as a receiver for a holder for the spring-loaded carabiner, which would attach to the target.(more…)