How is a remote underwater inspection conducted?

Divers usually conduct underwater inspections. While, a visual inspection is possible in clear water, when a deep or long dive is required, a diver with an air supply is better suited for the task. Their flexibility and speed are their main advantages. However, many types of structures are in water that is not clear enough for even a trained diver.

Remote inspections provide a safe and cost-effective alternative to conventional inspections or deploying divers. Still, remote inspection techniques (RIT) are subject to certain limitations, such as they are only applicable to specific regulatory circumstances and must be managed by qualified operators. Nonetheless, remote underwater inspections have enormous potential.

Remote inspections include a range of technologies such as:

• Aerial and underwater drones
• Remotely operated vehicles
• Crawlers
• Poles

Using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to capture data allows the creation of usable engineering documents such as orthophotos, digital surface models, traditional mapping, and high-definition video and imagery. This method enables data capture much more safely in time than conventional surveying.

The remote inspections are conducted by Remotely Operated Vehicles or "ROVs," which are unoccupied, highly maneuverable underwater machines that can explore ocean depths while being operated by someone at the water’s surface. These uncrewed vehicles can include the following types:

• Tethered
• Free swimming
• Towed
• Towed midwater
• Bottom-reliant
• Bottom-crawling
• Structurally reliant
• Untethered

These underwater machines are controlled by a person who is usually on a surface vessel, using a joystick comparable to how you would play a video game. A group of cables or rope connects the ROV to the ship, sending electrical signals back and forth between the operator and the vehicle.

Remote inspections using ROVs offer the advantage of being operated at extreme depths, they can remain underwater for long periods of time, and ROVs can complete recurrent tasks accurately. Another advantage of using ROVs is that underwater inspections can be conducted in harsh conditions that hamper commercial diving operations.

Inspections of underwater structures such as dams, bridges, reservoirs, breakwaters, piers, oil rigs, etc., have always been arduous, challenging, and often dangerous. However, today, underwater drones offer solutions that eliminate the risks divers face and significantly reduce the high costs involved in such inspections.

Whichever remote inspection technique is employed, the customer should determine the inspection objectives before planning an underwater inspection. With clearly defined goals in place, a qualified diving contractor can assist in developing an effective inspection plan. Engaging the diving contractor during the planning process can help ensure the inspection's success. Project planning and execution is a collaborative effort. An experienced contractor can offer insights based on experience that lend a practical approach to the inspection effort.

Underwater Engineering Services, Inc. provides small inspection class ROVs for visual/video inspections. Coupled with our qualified inspectors and engineers, these have proven highly effective data collection platforms.

UESI is a leading commercial diving, civil marine contractor, and specialty engineering company operating worldwide. We offer a wide range of services, turnkey solutions, and design specialty services uniquely applicable to the needs of customers ranging from heavy marine construction companies to nuclear power plant operators. UESI's core values of Safety, Customer Service, Quality, and Innovation form the foundation on which we perform work and conduct business.

UESI continues to evaluate new technologies and methods and apply them as they fit the project to provide our clients with the best value for their investment. We provide engineering, inspection, and survey services for all types of structures located in, near, or over the water. Because UESI is an engineering and construction company, we offer a unique combination of skills, including qualified P.E. divers and construction professionals. Contact us for more information.

Phone: 772-337-3116
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Address: 3306 Enterprise Rd, Fort Pierce, FL 34982