Ross Labs Ready to Deliver Survey Boat to St. Paul District
The 24-foot Launch 22 is bound for St. Paul where it will help the district’s mission to maintain 243.6 miles of navigation channels on the Upper Mississippi River.
On Launch 22 during sea trials near the Armstrong office are, from left, Dean Graddon of Ross Labs, Jason Minnoch, commercial sales manager of Armstrong Marine, and Jim Ross, president of Ross Labs.
Armstrong integrated a ventilated cabinet into the transom deck to protect the generator from the weather.
Idling in front of the Statue of Liberty, the New York District’s boat demonstrates the HYPER arm that raises and lowers the multibeam sonar head.
The Jacksonville boat is under construction at Armstrong’s facility.
This spring, Ross Laboratories will deliver a new 24-foot aluminum survey boat to the St. Paul District Fountain City Service Center. The Ross Mini-Sweep system is installed on the boat, which was built by Armstrong Marine Inc. of Port Angeles, Washington, and was custom designed for the St. Paul District.
Armstrong has stepped into the niche vacated when SeaArk Marine closed down its commercial division, and has delivered a number of custom survey boats to support dredging activities.
“We built the (St. Paul) boat around the survey system,” Jason Minnoch, Armstrong government sales manager, told IDR on February 26. “We integrated the pockets for the arms into the cabin and hull, cutting out pockets to tuck the booms into so they don’t look like an afterthought,” he continued. “We integrated the hull and pilot house structure, and the stability with the sweep system installed is perfect,” he said.
The sweep system includes two 10-foot booms, each with two transducers and one transducer in each of the catamaran hulls, the six transducers providing a 25-foot overall sweep width. The helmsman operates the booms by switches. The boom locks into place with a disk brake caliper system that allows it to move back with no damage if it hits something.
The survey system is run on a Panasonic Toughbook laptop computer, which contains the HYPACK® software, with monitors provided for both the helmsman and survey operator. The helmsman’s console is on the starboard side of the cabin, and the monitor shows the Hypack steering lines. A cabinet with two pull-out shelves along the bulkhead stores the Ross 4810 sweep system transceiver.
There is a center doorway to the front deck and a small desk on the port side for the survey operator, who runs the Hypack system on the Toughbook with a mouse and keyboard. The operator also provides a second set of eyes to watch for other traffic during the survey, Jim Ross, president of Ross Labs, told IDR.
An HP wide format printer connected to the Hypack can produce 11 by 17-inch charts on-board when required.
The helmsman and the survey operator have 10-inch monitors that display the soundings from the six Mini-Sweep transducers.
Positioning is by a Trimble SPS 461, with two antennas mounted on top of the cabin to provide heading as well as position. A small sounder with color video and plotter provides depths for navigation.
Armstrong delivered the boat to Ross ready to run after sea trials offshore of Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Jason Minnoch recommends the company’s catamaran hulls because of their stability both for crew comfort and data acquisition, “providing good data from the get go” and less need for offsets and cleanup than on a mono-hull vessel, he said. The wide cabin allows all the equipment to remain installed, allowing use of a single beam and a multibeam without re-mobilizing the equipment.
The boats are built with a quarter inch bottom and side plates, and are super rugged for commercial use, Minnoch said.
For the St. Paul boat, the Corps required an on-deck gasoline-powered generator, so Armstrong integrated a ventilated cabinet into the transom deck, which protects the generator from the weather. The generator is mounted on a heavy duty slide to allow the generator to be pulled out to add fuel and oil.
Armstrong built the hull with a notch in the bow for an Armstrong Marine-designed HYPER arm for deployment of a bow-mounted multibeam transducer, should the District decide to add one in the future.
The new boat is named Launch 22, and follows Mini-Sweep boats Launch 20 and 21, provided by Ross to the St. Paul District in previous years. Launch 20 has been offered to other Corps Districts, and the Duluth office has shown interest for its survey mission.
The St. Paul District is responsible for surveying and mapping the upper 243.6 miles of navigation channel to a minimum depth of nine feet on the Mississippi River from Minneapolis, Minnesota at river mile 857.6, to Guttenberg, Iowa at river mile 614.0, and 40.6 miles on three tributaries: the Minnesota, St. Croix and Black rivers.
Armstrong Marine has built a number of survey boats for government and private clients.
“We have on staff a project manager who has experience working on survey boats, and who designs the deck and cabin from the point of view of a surveyor,” said Minnoch, another positive aspect of the company’s products.
The company has designed and delivered survey boats to, among others, the Corps Jacksonville and New York Districts, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for use in the Chesapeake Bay.
When Armstrong held its trials for the New York District personnel in February 2012, Jim Ross and Dean Graddon attended to help install the transducer fairing and bar check system for a single beam sounder Ross was providing for the boat. As a result of the demonstration of the New York boat, Ross decided to purchase the St. Paul boat from Armstrong.
The 26-foot New York survey boat was delivered on February 17, 2012, and the district installed the multibeam and single beam survey hardware and software. The boat is equipped Armstrong’s HYPER arm for the multibeam transducer.
The Jacksonville boat, now under construction, is 31 feet long, and will include a multibeam system using the HYPER arm also.