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Geodynamics Adds 30-foot Survey Boat to Fleet

The R/V Benthos on the Morehead City, North Carolina waterfront. The boat is equipped with state-of-the-art hydrographic and onboard navigational equipment. The 8kW genset allows for a multitude of both DC and AC power configurations and a hydraulic PTO to run the vessel’s A-frame used to deploy geophysical survey equipment. The vessel has the capability to have full high-speed internet, which allows surveyors to transfer data back to the office and also bring in internet based real-time kinematic GPS corrections.

The R/V Benthos on the Morehead City, North Carolina waterfront. The boat is equipped with state-of-the-art hydrographic and onboard navigational equipment. The 8kW genset allows for a multitude of both DC and AC power configurations and a hydraulic PTO to run the vessel’s A-frame used to deploy geophysical survey equipment. The vessel has the capability to have full high-speed internet, which allows surveyors to transfer data back to the office and also bring in internet based real-time kinematic GPS corrections.

The sidescan being readied for deployment from A-frame.

The sidescan being readied for deployment from A-frame.

Final data from a high-resolution multibeam sonar survey at the Morehead City Port Terminal. Data were used to assess depths for vessel clearance and to determine rock placement for scour abatement around the berths by Weeks Marine.

Final data from a high-resolution multibeam sonar survey at the Morehead City Port Terminal. Data were used to assess depths for vessel clearance and to determine rock placement for scour abatement around the berths by Weeks Marine.

Hydrographic Surveyors Ben Sumners and David Bernstein (seated) collect both multibeam and sidescan sonar to NOAA and IHO specifications for the Port of Morehead City project to investigate conditions of the berths for ship clearance. The onboard compute

Hydrographic Surveyors Ben Sumners and David Bernstein (seated) collect both multibeam and sidescan sonar to NOAA and IHO specifications for the Port of Morehead City project to investigate conditions of the berths for ship clearance. The onboard compute

Geodynamics, LLC, based out of Morehead City / Beaufort, North Carolina, took delivery of a 30-foot Armstrong catamaran in the 3rd quarter of 2012. The boat, the R/V Benthos, was custom designed for hydrographic survey operations and configured to be rapidly trailered, which reduces cost to clients, according to Chris Freeman, company president.

Among his clients are dredging companies Marinex Construction, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock, Norfolk Dredging and Weeks Marine. The services Geodynamics offers are condition surveys, before and after dredge surveys to calculate volumes, interim surveys to adjust templates or inspect the project, inspection surveys to determine placement of construction materials or equipment, and IHO* special order surveys for vessel clearance.

Geodynamics uses the state-of-the-art platform for both multibeam and single beam sonar operations, as well as geophysical operations such as sidescan sonar and sub-bottom profiling.

“The Armstrong vessel is a great asset to our company’s continued growth,” Freeman told IDR.

“Our experience with the Armstrong build was amazing. They understood our needs and made many suggestions along the way on things we didn’t think about. In fact, they put equipment on the vessel that exceeded the specifications at no cost to us in an effort to build the best boat possible. Armstrong truly wants to see the customer happy and have a vessel suited to the client’s needs,” said Freeman.

The company serves clients on the Atlantic Coast, doing approaches to ports, port channels and tidal inlets. It is also a prime contractor for the Corps Wilmington District.

Besides the new R/V Benthos, the company runs three other survey boats: the 25-foot R/V 4-Points designed for shallow water survey; The 21-foot R/V Echo, a catamaran designed for ultra-shallow survey; and the R/V Surfzone Explorer, a Yamaha Wave Runner for extremely shallow water hydrography. For open or deep ocean 24-hour operation surveys, Freeman leases a variety of vessels/ships, which he equips with his own survey equipment to tailor hydrographic and geophysical surveys for clients such as the U.S. Navy or NOAA.

Geodynamics’ Logistics and Operations Manager Aron Lemke with the assistance of Chief Hydrographer David Bernstein did all the basic electronic rigging, the design and implementation of a multibeam sonar mount and completed the sophisticated computer networking after taking delivery of the R/V Benthos in the third quarter of 2012. “Basically the boat has been ready to survey for the last six months,” said Freeman.

The cabin accommodates a full range of survey equipment. While a typical survey will need two hydrographic survey techs, the vessel has room to run multiple survey equipment simultaneously, such as a geophysical or oceanographic survey, and can accommodate five surveyors and a captain.

Survey hardware includes: Applanix POS MV inertial navigation system; Odom CV 100 digital singlebeam echosounder; Kongsberg / Simrad EM 3002 dual head multibeam echosounder; EdgeTech 4200 dual frequency 
sidescan sonar; custom built acquisition and processing workstations and six monitors. Software includes HYPACK, CARIS HIPS/SIPS, POS View, POS Pac, SIS and ISIS.

One of the first projects for R/V Benthos was pre-dredge channel survey work for Great Lakes Dredge & Dock on the Morehead City approach channel.
“The trailerability of the boat is probably the single most important thing,” said Freeman. “We work over the entire U.S. East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean (with larger boats), so we can save our clients money by having a fully-equipped and calibrated survey boat that can be trailered very rapidly versus having to steam to the location. It saves on time getting the job done, and saves the client in reduced mob/demob and fuel costs. An example of rapid response work is when a hurricane like Sandy or Irene hits an area, we often do rapid response surveys for the USACE or U.S. Geological Survey. But in general, trailering the boat serves our dredging clients very well because the projects typically require very rapid turnarounds, which we pride ourselves on.”

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