Conducting Underwater Dam Inspections | ROVs or Divers?
When conducting underwater inspections for offshore infrastructure, dam owners should look towards utilizing both ROVs and divers for safe, efficient and affordable operations.
Should Dam Owners Use Divers or ROVs for Underwater Inspection?
Dam owners, perhaps more than anyone in the hydro industry, understand the crucial importance of regular dam inspections. There is increasing concern for dam safety around the world. Fewer new dams are being built and many existing ones are aging and beginning to show signs of wear and tear.
Dam inspections can cover many areas, but perhaps the most difficult to conduct are those which need to focus on the submerged dam surface. Underwater inspections are not only crucial for checking existing dam faces for cracks and signs of aging, but they are also required during the construction of new dams.
Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) have been used for underwater inspections in various industries and the offshore industry is becoming more aware of its usefulness.
Capable of working at depths up to 300 meters, the DTX2 ROV can carry out various tasks such as video and photo documentation, built in sensors for water temperature, (auto) compass heading and (auto) depth. It also has a patented pitching system that allows for precise rotation and maneuverability to 180 degrees to easily perform lateral movement.
Read More: Divers Working in Conjunction With ROVs
ROVs or Divers? It’s Not One or The Other!
Not everyone is convinced that ROVs are the way forward. However, underwater inspections require both ROVs and diver intervention for safe, efficient and cost-effective offshore inspections. At present, diving safety requirements specify that to make up each dive, there must be three divers who are qualified, plus supervisors on the surface. It is therefore very expensive to maintain a dive team.
ROVs should be used in tandem with divers to allow for visual indication of the underwater structure. ROVs are especially useful where depths are greater and may pose safety concerns for divers. Deep Trekker ROVs can work underwater up to 8 hours via on-board batteries. It is small enough to transport to dive sites and does not require a large team to operate. In this respect, a ROV is more cost-effective.
Even when divers are needed in the water for repairs or inspections, Deep Trekker ROVs offer peace of mind by being an extra set of eyes in the water for safety, security, and guidance. Our years of experience providing ROVs for offshore operations have helped us to refine our models into the perfect tools for dam owners.
We were able to save valuable dive time by using the ROV to pinpoint the spots that we wanted to concentrate on.” – Frank Hauser
The ultimate question – to ROV or not to ROV? – is a continuous debate. One thing however is clear, ROVs are not meant to replace divers, but rather limit the risks of their trade. Deep Trekker believes that using a ROV in tandem with divers allows for inspections to be done right – in terms of safety, efficiency and affordably.