Underwater Drone Use

Good Morning Captains:
I have been in the oil and gas exploration business (land only) for 41 years and am slowly coming to the end of that career as I’m 68 now. I have owned and been around small boats my entire life and currently own a 38 ft aluminum trawler. Today I am asking for opinions on the use of underwater drones for inspection type jobs that would be used prior to divers being sent down for repairs, etc. Or used at shipyards for prop/anode/paint inspections.
I would really like to find a way for this trawler of mine to help pay its way, and the drone idea, among others came to mind. I received my MMC (6 pack) in January of this year, whether that would be helpful here remains to be seen.
I would appreciate any opinions y’all may have, and thanks.

Prolly cheaper to haul out a 38’ boat

If and when underwater ROVs become cheap and plentiful , as aerial drones have become, this can happen.

At present, I think divers are a lot cheaper for most routine shallow water work. ROVs are only practical for deep or dangerous jobs.

I did recently ready an article somewhere about the successful development of ROVs for cleaning ship bottoms while at anchor. Cheaper and faster than divers. The main advantage appears to be avoiding disposal costs for the removed organic, but contaminated material. Although, it seems likely that invasive species and inorganic contaminant concerns will lead to restrictions if this business ever scales up.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all had an affordable magnetic ROV on hand that could crawl along the hull with a video camera for inspections?

Re magnetic ROV, see this https://www.deeptrekker.com/dt640-utility-crawler/ . This and the other drones they have are the ones that I would use, small and portable, not the giant ones used offshore down deep.

Haulout and return about $400. Pressure wash about 200-400.

That is very interesting, but $20,000 by the time it’s all set up seems far too expensive to just look. I can see where it would be great ffor crawling into pipes too small for a diver.

What does a scuba diving outfit and a camera in waterproof bag cost, $2,000?

Local Scuba diving is cheap, often around $100, to check the bottom of a boat, cut line out of the wheel, etc.

However, if a commercial customer demands commercial divers with commercial diving insurance, it becomes hideously expensive, and difficult to obtain. You can spend $20,000 very quickly.

I do not believe those small but expensive pressure washing and scrapping attachments would be effective. Something like a commercial floor polishing robot mounted on magnetic tracks would be more practical.

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I agree about the attachments to the ROV, too small to do much good. First thing I should do is learn how to operate a drone. Will probably buy an inexpensive one and see how it goes. There’s other areas where this can be used, law enforcement being one. Its worth looking into this idea and see if there’s a need. Thanks for your input.

A friend was working in the oil patch on land and decided there was tremendous potential for drone services. He bought a drone and started flying it and taking pictures. Then, he tried to market it.

He was surprised to discover how many people were doing it. And even more surprised to learn about all the value added extras that many vendors provide. A typical drone vender has a van full of computers processing data from various sensors on the drones.

Another friend is a photographer. He has been taking high quality photos of houses, I mean estates, for real estate brokers from his helicopter for 30 years. He says that all real estate brokers now have their own drone and he gets no business.

Yeah, the aerial drone biz has gone big time though helos still needed for pipeline and electrical transmission long flights. Couple of guys my son went to high school with started a business like your friend, now they are pretty big in S. Louisiana where I live. They can lay out subdivision tracts, ball fields etc. with aerial surveys. Pretty fascinating. Got to be room in there somewhere for the smaller underwater drones. The big drone market is handled by outfits like Schlumberger that have the large unmanned submarines. Way out of my league.

Hull cleaning drone for large vessel:

Smaller type for smaller vessels and boats:

Eyeball ROV for inspections:

Here used at fish farms, but suitable for all kinds of inspections.

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Here’s another one:

They’re based in Nanaimo of all places. I found it while looking for the one that I saw in a presentation by Lloyds, that one was in the business of x-raying welds. I can’t find him. But anyways. Go team!

Thanks to all, I appreciate your information. Onward.

The UWILD inspections are progressing to smaller vessels now down from larger ships. Can anyone comment on how ABS and DNV are structuring the UWILD general inspection process and Underwater Hull Survey-UWILD and UWILD Inspection report?

What format or standards and checklists are being used?