Hi-tech survey helps support maritime safety

Published: 25/10/2021

What do you know about seabeds? Possibly not much but if you use nautical charts, you’ll be grateful that we know a lot about the ones in UK waters.

We know a lot about them because we carry out systematic hydrography surveys and seabed mapping using multibeam technology. It helps provide vital data to support maritime safety and the production of new or updated nautical charts. The imagery produced is quite remarkable.

The MCA’s contractor, A-2-Seas Ltd, is currently surveying the Goodwin Sands, which is a highly mobile area of seabed. It’s also infamous for its toll of shipwrecks.

The Luray Victory (pictured below) was one of them - an American cargo steam ship which grounded in 1946.

Luray Victory

Images courtesy of A-2-Sea Solutions

Paula English, Hydrography Programme Lead for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: “It is quite fascinating seeing these amazing images of wrecks which form part of the heritage landscape. But our primary purpose is navigation safety, ensuring the mariner has up to date charts to support safe passage through this shallow area.”

She added: “The MCA is also keen to work with other organisations wherever possible. This means we have been able to carry out some additional work, recording seal sightings and locations of seal haul outs on the Goodwin Sands."

“This data has been provided to the Goodwin Sands Trust who will be able to use this information to help them assess the state of the local seal population.”