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Recovering Submerged Vehicles Using An ROV

When it comes to recovering submerged vehicles, nothing makes it easier than using a Deep Trekker underwater drone; see how one client is using his ROV.

No one ever really knows what might be lurking beneath the surface or on the bottom of a body of water. Submerged vehicles, vivid marine life or forgotten structures may be waiting for your discovery. What can found “down there” may have us scratching our heads or wondering how on earth it ended up submerged.

It would be an understatement to say that a strange variety of objects are often discovered when underwater surveying or search and recovery operations (SAR) occur. Surprisingly, in many cases, these activities even lead to unintended submerged vehicle recovery. Such is the case at Lake Quinsigamond in Massachusetts.

Lake Quinsigamond Discoveries

It’s a small lake, about four miles long and eighty-five feet deep. Local resident, Mike Kalinowski, has pulled an incredible array of items from the lake’s bottom. Mike explores the lake using a Deep Trekker ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) equipped with a high definition camera, onboard batteries, LED lights and a grabber arm. He initially began underwater searches working on Project Mishoon, an archeological initiative of the Nipmuc Nation. The project began after a “mishoon”, a wooden dugout canoe, was found in the lake.

In addition to his archeological work on Project Mishoon, Mike also continues to search for a 300 passenger steamer that struck one of the islands and sank on the lake in 1897. He believes he has identified furniture from the ship on the lake bottom but has been unable to date to capture views of the wreck.

Mike wants to preserve the lake for recreational use by future generations including his grandchildren. Unfortunately though, not all of his discoveries are pleasant. Mike has identified at least fifty sealed drums sitting on the lake bottom. They gave him enough call for concern that he reported this find to the Lake Quinsigmond Commission for follow-up. Recently, using his Deep Trekker ROV, Mike located and assisted with the removal of a car he discovered in the silt of the lake bottom that had been stolen over ten years ago.

Underwater Drones Aiding in the Search

Mike Kalinowski’s discoveries have often been accidental. However, Mike’s story aptly demonstrates the ease and effectiveness of using a Deep Trekker ROV as an essential element in submerged asset recovery or for efficient and timely search and recovery operations. As a casual ROV pilot, Mike needs a unit that is easily transported, quickly deployed, robustly constructed, and can provide high-quality images for a sustained period of time.


By Scott J. Croteau | masslive

Coincidentally, these requirements are likely identical to those that commercial or industrial operations and law enforcement agencies demand in their procurement of ROVs. Deep Trekker’s DTG2 ROV can be custom built and are designed to meet the needs of recreational archeologists, aquaculture operations and maritime protection agencies working in depths up to 150 meters (492 feet). The larger Deep Trekker DTX2 ROV can handle tasks at depths up to 300 meters (1000 feet).

The Deep Trekker ROVs

Recovery, inspection or observation tasks are often unscheduled and unpredictable. Deep Trekker ROVs respond well under these conditions. They can be deployed and be operating below the surface in less than two minutes. Everything required for a search or recovery is taken to the site in a single case. For intensive tasks, Deep Trekker’s on-board lithium ion batteries hold a charge for 6-8 hours and recharge in approximately an hour and a half. The self-contained power sources in both the ROV and controller mean that no external power connections are required, increasing the overall portability considerably.

rotating-camera-upThe onboard cameras on the DTG2 and DTX2 ROVs rotate 270 degrees around the ROV body. The cameras produce sharp, detailed images that can be recorded when required. A powerful, built-in LED light is paired with the camera to make searching in dim and dark environments much easier. In addition, an optional additional light package can further increase visibility underwater.

Mike Kalinowski’s ROV is equipped with a grabber arm that can be easily attached and dismounted. The grabber is operated using conveniently located touch pads on the controller. Thus an operator is able to rotate, open and close the grabber’s jaws quickly and with ease. This nimble grabber arm is ideal for attaching a carabiner to a large object such as a vehicle so that a crane can recover the object without diver intervention.

An operator can also lock the grabber arm onto a well-anchored point. If you have securely latched on to a heavy object, you can then use the tether to manually raise it to the surface. The tethers are manufactured using cable with a minimum break strength of two hundred pounds, allowing you to lower or raise the ROVs from the water even with a larger object.