Penobscot Bay hydrographic survey begins in July

Published in Landings, July, 2016.

Fugro, the world’s largest integrator of geotechnical, survey, subsea and geoscience services, will be conducting a NOAA-commissioned multibeam and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) hydrographic survey in highly trafficked and fished areas of Penobscot Bay this summer.

Multibeam echosounder surveys are generally conducted in response to requests by marine pilots, port authorities, the U.S. Coast Guard, fishermen, and the general boating community. Since many portions of Penobscot Bay have not received a modern multibeam survey since the 1950s, this new survey will provide valuable information for the community and up-to-date nautical charts for the region. The data from this project will be used to update the current nautical charts for the area and notices to mariners, as well as identifying any new navigation hazards such as wrecks and other obstructions.

Penobscot Bay and the planned Priority sections for the hydrographic survey.

Penobscot Bay and the planned Priority sections for the hydrographic survey.

The project is tentatively scheduled to kick off July 8, 2016 and will run through late September. The survey area (refer to graphic below) covers the regions of Spaulding Island to Mosquito Island, Rockland Harbor, and North Haven Island to Vinalhaven Island.

Fugro will be mobilizing two catamaran-style jet drive survey boats with echosounders mounted on poles either over-the-side or at the stern to obtain multibeam data. These vessels will be utilized to survey and map the ocean floor in areas with water depths greater than 8 meters. In addition to the two vessels, a small aircraft will be fitted with an Airborne LiDAR Bathymetry (ALB) system to map data inshore of the 8-meter contour. The LiDAR system is ideally suited for mapping shallow water areas and the coastal zone; achievable water depth depends on water clarity and bottom type.

Vessel selection for this survey was based on feedback from a meeting held with MLA area and zone representatives on April 6, 2016 in Rockland, ME. During the meeting it was outlined that Fugro was actively looking into vessels that were equipped with jet drive propulsion, which would avoid tangles with fishing gear.

Survey operations will be based out of Rockland, with the first vessel planned to be in Rockland July 8,

2016; mobilization of the vessel is anticipated to take 3 to 4 days. Once mobilization is completed the vessel will conduct one day of system calibrations and then commence survey. The current survey plan is to start in Priority 1 (labeled as 1 in the graphic above). It should be noted that survey operations depend greatly on weather, therefore survey operations may be shifted to another Priority. The second vessel is planned to be in Rockland July 16, 2016; again 3 to 4 days to mobilize and one day of calibrations. Fugro plans on starting this vessel in Priority 4, and exposed areas; again this will depend on weather. Both vessels will be monitoring channel 16 and a working channel (yet to be determined).

Fugro will have a temporary office established in Rockland and our point of contact for any further questions will be:

Dean Moyles
Cell: 858 945-6378

For additional information regarding Fugro’s hydrographic survey services and the technologies being utilized on this project visit our website at: