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Side Scan Sonar Surveys

Side scan sonar uses acoustic signals (sound waves) to generate an image of the seafloor (riverbed, lakebed, etc.).  A side scan sonar is often towed behind a survey vessel but may be affixed directly to the vessel for shallow water applications.  The system transmits sound waves toward the seafloor from both sides of the towfish then records intensity of the reflected signal.  As the vessel moves along a trackline an acoustic “picture” of a swath of seafloor is generated.  Hard areas such as rock or perhaps a shipwreck will produce stronger reflections while softer material such as smooth sand or silt will generate weaker reflections.

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Side scan sonar is most often used for sediment type delineation and/or seafloor feature/obstruction detection.  Due to the wide swath coverage, side scan sonars are especially well suited for seafloor searches.

OSI maintains a variety of Side scan sonars ranging in frequency from 100 kHz for low resolution wide swath coverage, to 1,600 kHz for very high resolution, high-definition narrow swath scans.

Representative Projects

Archaeological Investigation Fig. 2

Archaeological Investigation: Searsport, Maine

Using marine geophysical techniques, Ocean Surveys conducted an archaeological investigation in Searsport Harbor, Maine. It was completed in support of a channel deepening project performed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (New England District). The investigation was designed to ...
Charting Navigable Waterways Fig. 8

Charting Navigable Waters

Ocean Surveys was a subcontractor to the prime on NOAA’s very first contracted hydrographic survey.  Since 1999, OSI has acted as a prime contractor and surveyed thousands of square nautical miles of navigable waters on behalf of NOAA (see table ...
Submarine Cable Fig. 2

Submarine Cable and Pipeline Routing: Massachusetts Bay

Ocean Surveys, Inc. initially performed a desktop study to compile geologic, oceanographic, sediment chemistry, and marine activity background information supporting the feasibility assessment of the project. This research was followed by a reconnaissance level marine geophysical survey along an alignment ...
Submarine Outfall Placement: Offshore of Sosua, Dominican Republic

Submarine Outfall Placement: Offshore of Sosua, Dominican Republic

Ocean Surveys conducted an oceanographic and geophysical data collection program in near shore waters off of Sosua, Dominican Republic, to support a joint project between the Dominican government and the World Bank. The project required a detailed investigation of the ...
Wastewater Treatment Fig. 6

Wastewater Treatment and Disposal: Alexandria, Egypt

The wastewater treatment and disposal facilities serving the City of Alexandria, Egypt were being modernized and upgraded. Feasibility studies required thorough evaluation of wastewater disposal alternatives, including an ocean outfall. To support that evaluation, OSI conducted a multi-disciplinary survey program ...

Wind Farm Development: Atlantic Ocean, Offshore Rhode Island

From 2009 to 2017, OSI provided extensive survey and data analysis for the wind farm development offshore Rhode Island. These services were performed in support of all phases of the design, permitting, and construction of five wind turbines, inter-array, and ...