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Industry News

  • Acoustic Beacons Help Researchers and Scientists

    Scripps Institution of Oceanography's SFP-1 pinger deployed in Cayman Islands
    Using the pinger receiver from the boat (bottom inset) with the remote hydrophone (top inset) to detect the pinger signal before sending a diver down

    Attempting to relocate underwater objects in open ocean or a low visibility environment can be a difficult and time consuming task. Acoustic pingers and transponders solve this problem. These acoustic devices are attached to an underwater site or instrument package and transmit a sonar signal. A gun-like device, either carried by a diver or deployed from a boat, detects the signal and guides the operator directly to the beacon. Today these acoustic devices are being employed by many marine scientists and researchers to keep track of expensive oceanographic equipment allowing instruments to be quickly relocated and retrieved.

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  • Police and Dive Companies Find Many Uses for Side Scan Sonars

    New York Department of Environment Police with their Fisher side scan
    Inset photos: Side scan images of steel drum (left), tires and other debris (right)

    A wide variety of users including public safety dive teams and commercial dive companies are finding side scan sonar to be an essential piece of equipment in their search and survey operations. This sonar is the ideal tool for these projects because it produces detailed images of the underwater environment regardless of water clarity. It scans several hundred feet of ocean, lake, or river bottom with each pass of the boat allowing large areas to be searched quickly. The sonar’s acoustic beam reflects off any objects lying on the bottom and the data is sent topside where vivid color images are displayed and stored on a laptop or tablet computer. Side scan will locate sunken boats, submerged vehicles, and drowning victims as well as inspect bridge supports, seawalls and dams.

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  • Marine Service Companies Track Pipes and Cables

    Midco diver tracks a pipeline with Fishers PT-1 pipe tracker.
    Inset photo - Castle diver uses Fishers CT-1 cable tracker to locate subsea high voltage power lines.

    Utility companies have been laying pipes and cables across the ocean floor for more than a century. Prior to the introduction of GPS, marking their position was a difficult and tedious task, fraught with error. It is extremely important to know the exact location of existing lines before undertaking dredging operations or when new pipes and cables are laid down. Regulations require they be buried from several feet to several meters under the bottom to prevent snagging by boat anchors and fishing trawls. The amount of overburden typically makes it impossible to find these lines with conventional metal detectors as the burial depth is beyond their detection range. Two pieces of equipment that have proved most effective are the pinpointing magnetometer and the cable tracker. The pinpointing magnetometer is a very sensitive instrument that locates iron and steel pipes buried up to 16 feet in the bottom, and the cable tracker is powerful enough to detect a power or communications cable at more than 30 feet away.

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  • ROVs Work for Diving Companies & Entrepreneurs

    INSUB personnel offshore with their JW Fishers SeaLion-2 ROV.
    Inset: Works of Diving Hong Kong lower SeaLion-2 in tank.

    Almost every commercial diving company is now employing an ROV in some part of their operation. Most recognize the ROV is not a replacement for the diver, but rather a tool to help make his job safer, faster and easier. Inspecting a site with a remote controlled vehicle before sending someone below, allows both diver and topside personnel to better understand the working environment, nature and extent of the job.

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  • Fishers Pulse 8X Detector rated #1 by Homeland Security

    New Mexico State Police officers search shallow waters of the Rio Grande with their Pulse 8X detectors looking for gun.

    JW Fishers Pulse 8X has been rated the best underwater metal detector by the US Department of Homeland Security’s SAVER program. The System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) program was established to assist emergency responders making procurement decisions. Located within the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, the SAVER Program conducts objective assessments and validations on commercial equipment and systems and provides those results along with other relevant equipment information to the emergency responder community. In a comparison of the 8 top underwater detectors on the market, Fishers Pulse 8X was rated number one.

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  • New Features for JW Fishers Search Systems in 2016

    Tablet mounted in lid of JW Fishers side scan sonar Processor Box

    JW Fishers Mfg., a company specializing in the design and manufacture of underwater search equipment for almost 50 years, is introducing new features for some of their key products for 2016.

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  • Marine Scientists Employ Underwater Metal Detectors

    Turtles at Champlain Bridge

    Finding a way to locate and track individuals and groups of marine animals has always been a challenge for scientists. When a new bridge was being built over part of Lake Champlain near the US-Canadian border, researchers with Quebec's Ministry of Natural Resources and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department wanted to know how it would affect the resident turtle population. To determine if the construction would have a negative impact on the reptiles, a study was conducted over a four year period. Twenty three turtles were captured and a transmitter attached to the shell of each one allowing them to be tracked and studied. At the conclusion of the project investigators wanted to remove the $1,000 tracking devices for possible re-use, and to mitigate any long term impact on the animals. Richard Savignac, a Canadian Diving Safety Officer working with the group reports, ‘We had decided from the start an underwater metal detector would be the best tool for the recovery effort as the transmitter had metallic elements. We began the search by using a radio telemetry antenna on the surface to locate the approximate position of the turtles on the bottom. Once a site had been identified, a diver was then deployed with a JW Fishers Pulse 8X detector. All twenty three of our test subjects were located alive and well, and the transmitters were successfully detached. We concluded our team had developed an effective methodology and innovative approach to replace or remove transmitters from specimens."

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  • Dive Teams Depend on Detection Devices

    Clockwise from top left: Louisville Fire Dept dive team members with their Fisher side scan, Washtenaw County Sheriff's diver with Pulse 8X, Rochester Police dive team member with their SCAN-650 sonar, Chief David Pease of REDS Team with Pulse 6X and recovered handgun

    Public safety dive teams depend on sonars, ROVs, and underwater metal detectors to accomplish their underwater search operations safely and effectively. When a New York man accidentally fell from a concrete ledge into the Genesee River, the Rochester Police dive team was immediately dispatched. To save time, the incident commander made the decision to deploy a SCAN-650 scanning sonar recently acquired from JW Fishers Mfg. The sonar transmits a sound wave that sweeps a circle up to 200 feet in diameter. The wave bounces off any object on the bottom and the return signal is sent topside where it produces an image on a laptop computer showing the operator exactly what's down there, regardless of water clarity. Officer Paul Romano reported, "We set up the SCAN-650 and found a target relatively quickly. A diver was splashed and confirmed it was the victim. The sonar was instrumental in helping make a fast recovery."

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  • Acoustic Pingers Help Contestants in Robosub Competition

    The competition was started 18 years ago to advance the development of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV). Co-sponsors are the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR). The goal is to challenge a new generation of engineers to accomplish realistic missions in an underwater environment and get young people excited about careers in science, technology, engineering and math. The hope is that Robosub will inspire these young men and women to pursue STEM careers, and create opportunities to enter the rapidly expanding field of maritime robotics.

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  • Underwater Metal Detecting Makes Every Dive a Treasure Hunt!

    Many scuba divers are discovering the fun and excitement underwater metal detecting can bring to their diving. Taking a detector along on a dive turns it into a completely new experience. Even divers that have "done it all"; underwater photography, spearfishing, rebreathers, scooters, etc, are surprised with the thrill they get finding things with a detector. As one diver joyously exclaimed, "It doesn't take a gold bar to get the adrenaline pumping, any discovery feels like treasure. It's like an Easter egg hunt!"

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  • Relocating Underwater Sites Easy With Acoustic Beacons

    Attempting to relocate underwater objects in a low visibility environment can be a difficult and time consuming task. Acoustic pingers and transponders solve this problem. Not long ago these devices were expensive pieces of equipment used primarily by the military, oil and gas industries, and oceanographic institutions. Today these underwater locating beacons are being employed by a wide range of users including commercial diving companies, public safety dive teams, universities, environmentalists, and companies in the energy industry.

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  • U/W Search Equipment Helps Law Enforcement and Dive Teams

    Members of Placer County Sheriffs Dept with their JW Fishers SSS-100K/600K side scan sonar
    Inset: Snohomish Sheriff Dept deputies with the SeaLion-2 ROV nicknamed "Batman".

    Many law enforcement agencies and public safety dive teams are adding underwater search equipment to help make their operations easier, safer, and faster. Placer County Sheriffs Department and Solano County Dive Rescue Team in California, Rochester Police Department in New York, Providence Fire Department in Rhode Island, and the Snohomish County Sheriffs Department in Washington are a few of the diverse group of agencies using metal detectors, video cameras, and sonars in their search and recovery missions. Placer County has 95 square miles of water which includes forty percent of Lake Tahoe. To ensure this area has adequate law enforcement and public safety coverage, the Placer County Sheriffs Department has two dive teams and a marine patrol. Dive team members are assigned to the marine unit and perform accident investigations on sunken vessels, victim recoveries and evidence collection. Operations are conducted from a 14 foot zodiac, two 24 foot Jetcraft boats, and a custom built 30 foot aluminum Almar capable of cruising at 40 knots. The boats carry an array of equipment including scuba gear, underwater communications, photography equipment, lift bags, and a JW Fishers SSS-100K/600K side scan sonar which produces detailed images of anything on the bottom regardless of water clarity. The sonar was employed in the search for a small plane that crashed in the lake with several people on board. The sonar was also put to work in the search for alleged marijuana dealer Neal Forrest King who went missing in 2013. Law enforcement agencies had unsuccessfully searched several lakes at the time of his disappearance, but now with water levels in the lakes at historic lows, new underwater terrain can be explored. Sgt. David Pabst reports their recently upgraded side scan is working great, and since completing training with Team Lifeguard Systems' Skeeter Porter, "everyone is much more confident in the use of the sonar and its ability to help us find bodies."

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  • 2,000 Priceless Gold Coins Found in Mediterranean

    Main photo: Dr. Bridget Buxton of URI with JW Fishers Pulse 8X detector
    Bottom inset: Diver with hand full of recovered coins,
    Top inset: Some of the 2,000 gold coins found off the Israeli coast.

    Scuba divers have found the largest cache of gold coins ever discovered in Israel working on a wreck site in the ancient harbor of Caesarea on the country's Mediterranean coast, reports the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA). The treasure trove of 2,000 coins weighs more than 20 pounds and dates back more than 1,000 years to the era of Fatimid Caliphate, which ruled much of the Middle East and North africa from 909 to 1171. The coins are described as "priceless".

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  • Underwater Video Aids Commercial Divers and Public Safety Dive Teams

    Members of the Fall River Police Dept. with their SeaLion-2 ROV
    Inset: Underwater Solutions' diver enters tank equipped with JW Fishers MC-1 mini camera mounted on the helmet.

    Underwater video systems are now widely used by both public and private sector dive operations. They consist of a video camera mounted in a waterproof housing with a long cable connecting it to a monitor on the surface where the picture is viewed and recorded. There are numerous advantages of having a system that sends live video to the surface. Many law enforcement agencies and public safety dive teams put down a camera instead of a diver in the initial stages of an underwater search to save time and increase safety. It also allows them to make a permanent record of a search operation, an underwater crime scene, or evidence. Commercial diving companies employ these systems so topside support staff can see what the diver is doing, and to make a video of the work being done for the client.

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  • Making a Difference in the Lives of Others

    Members of the North Texas Special Response Team with their new JW Fishers Pulse 8X detector & BMF Project founder Donald Fugate

    The BMF Project for Search and Rescue was established to honor the memory of Brandon Michael Fugate, who at the age of 18, drowned in Lake Ray Hubbard. Brandon and two friends had gone out on the lake to check a trout line. An expected front blew in, the wind gusted to over 40 miles an hour, and the boat capsized. The three were thrown into the 42 degree water with no life jackets. First they thought it was best to wait with the overturned boat, but after a short time in the cold water Brandon felt he should go for help and swam for shore. Later a fisherman rescued the two boys by the boat, but could not find Brandon.

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  • U/W Search Equipment Aids Recovery Efforts at Air Asia Crash Site

    Members of Indonesia's national search and rescue agency Basarnas on board the search vessel preparing to deploy their JW Fishers ROV.

    Many fire and police departments consider side scan sonar an essential piece of equipment for their dive teams. Side scan is the ideal tool for search and survey operations because it produces detailed images of the underwater environment regardless of water clarity. In addition, the sonar is able to search large areas quickly, scanning several hundred feet of ocean, lake, or river bottom with each pass of the boat. The acoustic beam reflects off any objects lying there and the data is sent topside where vivid color images are displayed and stored on a laptop computer. Side scan can easily locate a variety of targets including sunken boats, submerged vehicles, and drowning victims.

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  • Govt. Agencies & Military Utilize Side Scan Sonar

    Wilmington Office of Emergency Management first responders with JW Fishers SSS-100K/600K side scan sonar.
    Inset - European military officers with their Fishers side scan.

    Many fire and police departments consider side scan sonar an essential piece of equipment for their dive teams. Side scan is the ideal tool for search and survey operations because it produces detailed images of the underwater environment regardless of water clarity. In addition, the sonar is able to search large areas quickly, scanning several hundred feet of ocean, lake, or river bottom with each pass of the boat. The acoustic beam reflects off any objects lying there and the data is sent topside where vivid color images are displayed and stored on a laptop computer. Side scan can easily locate a variety of targets including sunken boats, submerged vehicles, and drowning victims.

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  • Cable Trackers Help Dive Companies & Military

    WJ Castle & Associates diver prepares to dive with JW Fishers CT-1 cable tracker.
    Inset: Castle's diver in water with cable tracker probe.

    Trying to locate subsea power and communications cables has always been a difficult job. Regulations require cables be buried from several feet to several meters under the ocean bottom to prevent snagging by boat anchors and fishing trawls. The amount of overburden on a cable often means it's too deep to be located with conventional metal detection equipment. The device that has proved most effective in finding them is a cable tracker. This system has two parts, a signal injector and a probe. The injector is attached to the shore end of a line and induces a signal into one of the conductors. The probe is carried by a diver, or used from a boat in shallow water, and detects the electrical pulse transmitted through the wire.

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  • Diver Finds Bronze-Age Ring

    Main photo - Mike Drainville with his Pulse 8X and recovered ring;

    Left inset - close-up of Mike's Peace ring;

    Right Inset -Bronze-Age Celtic Cross or "wheel" ring found by Nelson Jecas in England.

    Diver, explorer, treasure hunter, museum exhibitor, writer, and lecturer are some of the words used to describe New Jersey resident Nelson Jecas. He has pursued his passion for research and artifact recovery for many years and has uncovered a number of historically important pieces from sites near and far. Jecas shares his findings with scientists, educators, students, and the public. One very important discovery was an ornate dagger made of bronze with a serpent coiled around the handle, a lion on the blade, and other detailed engravings along its entire length. This beautiful piece has been dated to the 1500s and was donated to a local museum. Another significant find was a mini teak treasure chest, called a coffer, about 8 inches long. The box is in remarkably good condition considering how long its was submerged in the ocean. The metal bands on the top and sides, along with the fixtures on the front and rear are all still intact. The coffer came from a sunken English ship and was probably the personal property of one of the ship's officers; his "piggy bank". In the box were five British coins of different sizes and values all dating to the 1800s, but unfortunately most of the markings were almost completely obliterated by time. The detector of choice in these expeditions is a JW Fishers Pulse 8X; a powerful, commercial-grade machine he describes as, "easy to operate and works great".

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  • 300th Anniversary of Historic 1715 Fleet Sinking

    Main photo: Captain Carl Fismer with Pulse 8X detector and Plythe Gibbons, owner of "Treasures of Fort Pierce" website.
    Inset photo - Gold rings and coins recovered from 1715 fleet.

    2015 marks the 300th anniversary of the sinking of a dozen Spanish ships known as the 1715 Plate Fleet; plata being the Spanish world for silver. On the 30th of July 1715 twelve galleons, overloaded with Mexican gold and silver, left Cuba and sailed north carried by the Gulf Stream. Just off the coast of Florida between present day Sebastian and Fort Pierce they were struck by a ferocious hurricane. Some of the ships sank in deep water, some broke up in shallower water, and others ran aground near shore. Only a tagalong French ship named Grifon, managed to survive, sail on, and report the disaster. It was one of the greatest tragedies to befall any Spanish treasure fleet with the loss of more than 1,000 lives and 14 million pesos, plus an equal or greater amount of contraband, all swept into the sea. The cargo was scattered over several miles and to this day Spanish coins still wash up on Florida beaches.

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  • Police & Dive Teams Gear Up for U/W Search

    Members of Boston Police Special Operations Unit with their JW Fishers SeaLion-2 ROV
    Inset: Sonar image of boat located by Tafton Fire Company with their JW Fishers SSS-600K side scan.

    Many government agencies and public safety dive teams are adding underwater search equipment to help make their operations easier, safer, and faster. Boston Police Special Operations Unit, Tafton Fire Company in Pennsylvania, Benton County and Baxter County Sheriffs Departments in Arkansas, and the Missouri State Water Patrol are a few of the diverse group of agencies using metal detectors, video cameras, and sonars in their search missions.

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  • Historic Shipwreck Discovered

    Main photo: Diver scans reef for magnetic anomalies with Fishers Diver Mag-1 magnetometer.
    Top inset: Searching a wreck site with the PT-1 pinpointing magnetometer. Bottom inset: Artists rendition of Le Griffon.

    Steven Libert, president of the Great Lakes Exploration Group, announced he has located what is believed to be the remains of Le Griffon, the first European ship to have sailed the upper Great Lakes. The 45 ton barque carrying 7 cannons was built by the legendary French explorer Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle who was attempting to establish a Northwest Passage through Canada. La Salle wanted to provide a faster way to connect France with its trading partners in the Far East and Le Griffon was to be a vital link in the route between Niagra and Illinois. On its maiden voyage the ship sailed through unchartered waters across Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan. On its return trip Le Griffon and her crew of six disappeared. Libert has spent the last 30 years researching historical records and conducting exploratory dives in upper Lake Michigan. On one of his these dives last summer Libert and his group discovered an area with a large hand-hewn wood timber protruding from the bottom. It is thought to be the vessel's bowsprit and carbon dating tests done on a sample by Beta Analytic Laboratories in Miami and the University of Arizona are promising, but not conclusive. To confirm the exact identity of the vessel requires locating more items from the site, but with much of the ship entombed in the lake bottom, some high tech equipment is needed. Key artifacts to find would be one or more of the seven cannons. To effectively search the football field size area, Libert has acquired JW Fishers PT-1 pinpointing magnetometer. A powerful detector of ferrous metal, the PT-1 can easily locate individual ferrous artifacts even on a wreck site littered with many iron objects. To protect the scientific and historic value of this incredible find, a partnership has been established with the state of Michigan and the Republic of France. Work is continuing as weather permits.

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  • U/W Metal Detectors For Law Enforcement and Commercial Diving

    Indian River County Fire Rescue diver surfaces holding 16 inch coil after recovering evidence
    Inset - Randive diver jumps in with Pulse 8X metal detector to locate and clear metal objects from bottom of New York Harbor.

    Many commercial diving companies and law enforcement agencies are acquiring underwater metal detectors to help in their search and recovery operations. Designed for use in the subsea environment, these detectors have a minimal number of controls making them extremely easy for divers to operate. They are an essential piece of equipment for locating and tracking pipelines, searching for lost tools and equipment, pinpointing the position of anchors and moorings, as well as finding weapons, evidence, and explosives.

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  • ROV and Sonar Training for Law Enforcement & Government Agencies

    Members of Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency with Lifeguard trainer William Porter (rear) and Fisher ROV.
    Inset photo: Lifeguard Systems president and founder Butch Hendrick.

    Many police and sheriffs departments, public safety dive teams, and government agencies are acquiring ROVs and side scan sonars to assist in their underwater search operations. The ROV is a excellent tool for these operations because unlike a diver, the remote operated vehicle can stay submerged indefinitely and it is not affected by water depth. Powerful thrusters propel the ROV over the bottom as high resolution cameras capture a clear picture of the underwater terrain and send it topside for all to view. Side scan sonars search large areas quickly and produce detailed images of the subsea environment regardless of water clarity.

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  • Special Metal Detector Adds Capability to ROVs

    Main photo: ECA Robotics ROV with Fishers RMD-1 metal detector.
    Inset photo: JW Fishers SeaOtter-2 ROV with RMD-1 on front.

    A number of marine service companies and manufacturers are adding a metal detector to their ROVs to increase the vehicle's capabilities. Magnetometers, super sensitive metal detectors, have been used with ROVs for many years, but these instruments only detect iron and steel. If the target of interest is made of nonferrous metal such as gold, silver, aluminum, brass or bronze, a magnetometer is useless. A conventional underwater metal detector can not be attached to an ROV because the electrical noise generated by the vehicle and all of its metal parts interfere with the detector's operation. To overcome these problems JW Fishers Mfg developed the RMD-1 remote metal detector. The unique dual coil design almost completely eliminates the affects of electrical noise and cancel the effect of the ROV's metal structure. Not only is the RMD-1 unaffected by the vehicle's noise and metal, it will detect both ferrous and nonferrous metal buried up to 1.5 meters in the bottom.

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  • Search Teams & Surveyors Use Scanning Sonars

    Main photo: Car being recovered from California drainage canal.
    Inset photo: Scanning sonar image of car on the bottom.

    When an SUV went off a Minnesota bridge and into a river in January the local sheriffs office was immediately notified and the Winona County Dive Team dispatched. Two bodies were quickly recovered from the vehicle, both wearing seatbelts, but two others were missing. The third victim was found the next day, but the fourth could not be located. Frigid water and limited visibility made a large scale search operation with divers nearly impossible. A decision was made to call in nearby Washington County Sheriffs Department and their underwater robot. Two years earlier the department had acquired JW Fishers SeaOtter-2 ROV which has two cameras, four powerful thrusters and a SCAN-650 scanning sonar. The SCAN-650 allows the operator to “see” much further than the video camera because the sonar’s sound wave sweeps a 200 foot diameter circle around the ROV. The wave bounces off any object on the bottom and is sent topside where it produces an image of the object on a laptop computer. Using their ROV equipped with scanning sonar the Washington team was finally able to locate the fourth victim 125 feet from where the vehicle entered the water and on the opposite side of the bridge.

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  • Engineers & Archaeologists Use Marine Magnetometers

    Diver uses JW Fishers PT-1 pinpointing magnetometer to locate buried steel plates and beams.
    Inset: Steel beam found with PT-1 magnetometer.

    Oceanographic engineers and marine archaeologists are among a broad range of users employing magnetometers in their underwater search, salvage, and construction operations. Magnetometers are super sensitive instruments that detect iron and steel at a much greater distance than conventional metal detectors. These devices assist in array of tasks which include; hunting for shipwrecks and artifacts, locating and tracking deeply buried pipelines, looking for lost tools and equipment, tracking down weapons and explosives, pinpointing the position of anchors and moorings, finding sunken vessels and submerged vehicles, and much more.

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  • Underwater Cameras Help Police & Commercial Divers

    Tonawanda Police diver with Fishers DHC-1 diver-held camera
    Inset - WJ Castle & Associates diver with Fishers MC-1 mini camera

    Underwater video systems are now widely used by both public and private sector dive operations. These systems consist of video camera mounted in an underwater housing with a long cable connecting it to a monitor on the surface where the picture is viewed and recorded. There are numerous advantages to having a system that can send live video topside for support personnel to see. Many law enforcement agencies and public safety dive teams put down a camera instead of a diver in the initial stages of an underwater search to save time and increase safety. It also allows them to make a permanent record of a search operation, an underwater crime scene, or evidence. Commercial diving companies employ these systems so topside staff can see what the diver is doing and also to produce a record of the work being done for their client.

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  • Underwater Metal Detecting For Fun and Profit

    Bart McCollum with the JW Fishers Pulse 8X on his boat Sea Hunter
    Inset photo - Bill Nichols with his Pulse 8X and recovered wedding ring

    Many recreational scuba divers are discovering the fun and excitement an underwater metal detector can bring to their diving. Taking a detector to a site they've dove dozens of times before turns it into a completely new experience. Even divers that have "done it all"; underwater photography, spearfishing, rebreathers, scooters, etc, are surprised with the thrill they get finding things with a detector. As one diver joyously exclaimed, "It doesn't take a gold bar to get the adrenaline pumping, any discovery feels like treasure. It's like an Easter Egg hunt!"

    Read More
  • Police and Dive Teams Gear Up for Underwater Search

    Fairhaven's Harbormaster and Shellfish Warden with JW Fisher's SeaLion-2 ROV.
    Inset photo: Members of Downe Township Fire Rescue with JW Fishers SSS-600K side scan sonar.

    Many government agencies and public safety dive teams are adding underwater search equipment to help make their operations easier, safer, and faster. Maricopa Sheriffs Department in Arizona, Downe Township Fire Rescue in New Jersey, the Fairhaven Massachusetts Harbor Master, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division are a few of the diverse group of agencies using metal detectors, video cameras, and sonars in their underwater search operations.

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  • Tracking Pipes and Cables Easy with High Tech Tools

    Diver locates cable on East Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) with Fishers CT-1 cable tracker probe

    Utility companies have been laying pipes and cables across the ocean floor for more than a century. Prior to the introduction of GPS, marking their location was difficult, and position information was often erroneous. It is extremely important to know where existing lines lie before undertaking dredging operations or when new pipes and cables are laid down. Regulations require they be buried from several feet to several meters under the bottom to prevent snagging by anchors and fishing trawls. This depth of burial makes it impossible to find them with conventional metal detectors as they are often beyond the device's detection range. Two pieces of equipment that have proved most effective are the pinpointing magnetometer and the cable tracker. The pinpointing magnetometer is a very sensitive instrument that locates iron and steel pipes buried up to 16 feet in the bottom, and the cable tracker can detect a buried power or communications cable at a distance of more than 30 feet.

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  • Universities & Dive Teams Use Underwater Detectors

    Hanna Ake, field researcher working for UCSB Professor Hunter Lenihan, uses Pulse 8X detector to relocate specimens in Moorea, French Polynesia.

    The University of California at Santa Barbara is one of many universities that are employing underwater metal detectors in their research programs. Hunter Lenihan is a professor of applied marine ecology at UCSB's Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. He studies the affects of restoration, ecotoxicology, and ocean resource management on marine communities. One area of interest is in the impact of ecological and oceanographic processes on coral populations. This interest led the professor to become involved a long term coral reef research project in Moorea, French Polynesia with the goal of developing new techniques for reef management and restoration. As part of this work Lenihan and his team are isolating and cultivating disease resistant abalone in an effort to increase their numbers. To gather the needed data researchers must examine the health of many individual abalones over an extended period of time. To aid in locating and tracking the shellfish, researchers have affixed small metal tags to them. Using JW Fishers Pulse 8X underwater metal detector, divers doing the field work can quickly relocate the specimens they need to examine.

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  • Marine Industry Employs Boat-Towed Detectors

    Officers from Peruvian Navy launch one their Proton 4 magnetometers

    Many marine service companies are acquiring boat-towed metal detectors and magnetometers to assist in salvage operations and geophysical surveys. These devices can locate a variety of targets including sunken vessels, ship anchors and propellers, pipelines, cables, and metal debris which must be removed from an area before dredging. The two primary pieces of equipment used in these operations are a magnetometer and the pulse induction (PI) metal detector. Magnetometers are super sensitive instruments that can detect iron and steel objects at hundreds of feet away. The boat-towed PI detectors locate all types of metals, while ignoring the high mineralization in the ocean environment.

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  • Marine Service Companies Track Pipes and Cables

    Divers with Canada's Maritime Electric prepare to enter the water with Fishers CT-1 cable tracker probe

    Utility companies have been laying pipes and cables across the ocean floor for more than a century. Prior to the introduction of GPS, marking their position was a difficult and tedious task, fraught with error. It is extremely important to know the exact location of existing lines before undertaking dredging operations or when new pipes and cables are laid down. Regulations require they be buried from several feet to several meters under the bottom to prevent snagging by boat anchors and fishing trawls. The amount of overburden typically makes it impossible to find these lines with conventional metal detectors as they are beyond their detection range. Two pieces of equipment that have proved most effective are the pinpointing magnetometer and the cable tracker. The pinpointing magnetometer is a very sensitive instrument that locates iron and steel pipes buried up to 16 feet in the bottom, and the cable tracker is powerful enough to detect a power or communications cable at more than 30 feet away.

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  • New High Frequency Side Scan Sonar

    Side scan sonar is becoming a common sight in ports and harbors.
    Inset photo: 1200 kHz side scan image of bicycle on river bottom.

    Side scan is the ideal tool for search and survey operations because it produces detailed images of the underwater environment regardless of water clarity. In addition, the sonar is able to search large areas quickly, scanning several hundred feet of ocean, lake, or river bottom with each pass of the boat. The sonar does this by transmitting an acoustic beam from a towfish which sweeps the bottom and reflects off any objects lying there. The reflected beam returns to the fish and is sent topside where vivid color images are displayed and stored on a notebook computer. Connecting a GPS allows position coordinates to be captured with the sonar data. Side scan can easily locate a variety of targets including sunken boats, submerged vehicles, and drowning victims.

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  • Fishers ROVs Go Deep for Government and Industry

    HT Marine's Rudy Watts with his SeaLion-2 ROV
    Inset photo: Jotun coating advisor with their SeaLion-2

    Many government agencies and marine service companies are acquiring ROVs to assist in their underwater operations. These highly maneuverable remote operated vehicles perform a variety of tasks at depths of 1,000 feet or more. Deploying an ROV instead of a diver can reduce the cost and increase the safety of any search or inspection operation.

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  • Fishers Magnetometers Help Commercial Divers and Explorers

    San Diego Gas and Electric's Dan Carr with Fishers Diver Mag and the team from CW Divers
    Right inset: Artist's rendition of Le Griffon
    Left inset: Diver searches with PT-1 pinpointing magnetometer

    Commercial diving companies and explorers are among the wide range of groups acquiring magnetometers to help in their underwater search operations. Magnetometers are super sensitive instruments that detect iron and steel at hundreds of feet away. These devices assist in array of tasks which include; hunting for shipwrecks and artifacts, locating and following pipelines, looking for lost tools and equipment, tracking down weapons and explosives, pinpointing the position of anchors and moorings, and finding sunken vessels and submerged vehicles.

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  • Side Scan Sonar Training for Law Enforcement and Government Agencies

    Lifeguard trainers Walt "Butch" Hendrick (l) and William "Skeeter" Porter (r) with members of the National Search and Rescue Agency of Indonesia
    Inset photo – Side scan image of sunken vessel.

    Many law enforcement agencies, public safety dive teams, and government agencies are acquiring side scan sonar systems to assist in their underwater search and survey operations. Side scan is the ideal tool for these operations because it produces detailed images of the underwater environment regardless of water clarity. In addition, the sonar is able to search large areas quickly, scanning several hundred feet of ocean, lake, or river bottom with each pass of the boat. Side scan can easily locate a variety of targets including sunken boats, submerged vehicles, and drowning victims. It is also an excellent choice for inspection of dams, piers, seawalls, pipelines, and other underwater structures.

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  • Fishers Boat-towed Detectors Assist Researchers & Salvors

    American Russell Bennett (r) prepares to survey for shipwreck sites in Panama's old harbor area using his JW Fishers Proton magnetometer.
    Presidential palace is visible in background between the two men.

    A number of archaeological groups and marine service companies are acquiring boat-towed metal detectors to assist in locating shipwrecks and to perform geophysical surveys. These devices can locate a variety of targets including the piles of magnetic ballast stones found on many old wrecks, gold and silver bars, cannons, anchors, pipelines, cables, and various metal debris which must be removed from an area before dredging. The two primary pieces of equipment used in these operations are a magnetometer and pulse induction (PI) metal detectors. Magnetometers are super sensitive instruments that can detect iron and steel objects at hundreds of feet away. The boat-towed PI detectors locate all types of metals, while ignoring the high mineralization in the ocean environment.

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  • Universities and Environmentalists Get Help from Underwater Cameras

    University of Maine graduate student Jennifer McHenry with SeaLion-2 ROV at Fishers factory.
    Inset: Deploying the DV-1 drop video

    More universities and environmental groups are using underwater video systems to assist in their research and monitoring operations. These cameras can be very useful tools in studying benthic habitats and marine organisms, and to monitor the impact of pollution on the environment.

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  • Acoustic Pingers in Use by Government Agencies and Marine Industry

    Ocean Power Technologies' autonomous PowerBuoy with Fishers SFP-1 pinger attached.
    Inset photo - ASL Environmental's faithful mascot stands ready to deliver their SFP-1 pinger.

    Government agencies and marine service companies are finding a variety of uses for acoustic pingers and pinger receivers. Pingers are signaling devices that can be attached to an underwater site or instrument package. Using the pinger receiver, a gun-like instrument carried by a diver, the sonar signal transmitted by the pinger can easily be detected and followed to its source.

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  • Diving Companies Track Pipes & Cables

    WJ Castle Associates diver with Fishers CT-1 cable tracker probe

    Utility companies have been laying pipelines and cables across the ocean floor for more than a century. Prior the introduction of GPS, marking their position was a difficult and tedious task, fraught with error. It is extremely important to know the exact location of existing lines before undertaking dredging operations or when new pipes and cables are laid down. Regulations require they be buried from several feet to several meters under the ocean bottom to prevent snagging by boat anchors and fishing trawls. This depth of burial typically makes them impossible to find with conventional metal detectors. Two pieces of equipment have proved most effective in finding them; a pinpointing magnetometer and a cable tracker. The pinpointing magnetometer is a very sensitive device that locates iron and steel pipes buried up to 16 feet in the bottom, and the cable tracker is powerful enough to detect a power or communications cable at more than 30 feet away.

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  • NEW MAGNETOMETER IS A HIT WITH ARCHAEOLOGISTS & DIVERS

    The team from DUC Diving with their side scan sonar and deep dive wing.
    Inset photo - Diver searches with the new PT-1 hand-held magnetometer.

    A diverse group of people from marine archaeologists to commercial divers are using a new compact, hand-held magnetometer designed to locate iron and steel objects underwater. One company having great success with this instrument is Cosmos Agencia Maritima based in Peru. They provide a broad range of services to their clients including ship husbandry, cargo transportation and storage, machinery and equipment rental, supply of fuel and parts, and diving services. A common request they receive is for underwater inspections of hulls, propellers, and bow thrusters. While performing repair work, a diver may drop a part or tool, which quickly disappears into the silty bottom. When this happens, an underwater metal locator is required to find the missing item. Cosmos recently procured a JW Fishers PT-1 pipe tracking magnetometer for their search and recovery projects. Francisco Paolillo Tapia, manager of special operations, reports the PT-1 is excellent for finding anchors, chains and other objects buried in the seabed. "This instrument helps us find the missing part quickly. Our divers used to spend a lot of time probing the muddy bottom searching for a lost tool or anchor. Now they find it fast using the mag, which saves us time and money."

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  • ENERGY COMPANIES POWER UP U/W SEARCH EQUIPMENT

    BC Hydro's Revelstoke Dam.
    Inset left: contractor uses CT-1 to track cable at water's edge.
    Inset right: JW Fishers CT-1 probe.

    Statiol, a leading energy company in oil and gas production, recently expanded their operations by purchasing the South Riding Point Storage and Transhipment Terminal on Grand Bahama Island. A primary objective of the acquisition is to strengthen Statiol's market and trading position in North America. The company plans to invest 200 million, half of which will be spent on upgrades at the facility. A significant portion of that money is being used to hire contractors to perform the work. One contractor already on the job is Belgian based Jan de Nul Group. The EPC project (engineering, procurement, & construction) includes removal of an existing pipeline, and the fabrication and installation of a new 42 inch line which will be connected by a spool and riser to an offshore loading platform. One of the tools Jan de Nul is employing is JW Fishers SeaOtter-2 ROV to monitor and inspect the removal of the old line and installation of the new one. The SeaOtter, a highly maneuverable underwater vehicle equipped with two high resolution cameras, allows engineers to watch the construction work from a topside support vessel, and to view it from any angle.

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  • New Monitor and Recorder for Underwater Cameras

    VRM-1 video recorder and monitor.
    Inset photo - MC-1 mini camera.

    Not long ago boat-deployed underwater video systems were expensive pieces of equipment used primarily by the military, oil and gas industry, and oceanographic institutions. Today these underwater cameras are being employed by a wide range of users that includes commercial diving companies, law enforcement agencies, public safety dive teams, professional fishermen, and even recreational scuba divers. They are affordable, easy to operate, and available in a variety of configurations such as helmet-mount, diver-held, drop, and towed. One problem encountered in using these systems around a marine environment is viewing the picture from the underwater camera. Standard TV sets and video monitors have a metal or plastic shell lined with openings for air circulation to cool the electronics; not a good setup for use in an open boat on the ocean. It's also hard to see the picture on the screen on a sunny day. To overcome these difficulties, JW Fishers designed the VRM-1 video recorder and monitor.

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  • Search and Salvage Down Under

    The team from Realf's Diving and Salvage in Queensland, Australia with their Fisher Pulse 8X metal detector, SSS-100K/600K side scan sonar, and Pulse 12 towed metal detector. Dive supervisor John Realf on left with Pulse 8X.

    The Central Queensland Port Authority is undertaking one of the largest capital improvement projects in Australia. The RG Tanna Wharf Expansion Project involves extending the pier by 350 meters, widening existing berths, building a 1.3 kilometer onshore conveyor, and creating a new jetty approach. The cost of the construction portion alone is $128 million. Marine contractor Realf's Diving and Salvage was hired to survey the area before the dredging operation could begin. The company is based in Gladstone, Queensland and has performed jobs for a number of high profile customers including Bechel Corporation, Australia's Department of Fisheries, Dept.of Natural Resources, Customs Service, and the Brisbane Port Authority. Realf's provides a variety of services for their clients including underwater cutting and welding, ship maintenance and repair, in-water surveys, salvage, and insurance work. Using JW Fishers side scan sonar and metal detectors Realf's team of divers and marine specialists located and removed a considerable quantity of underwater debris in the wharf area including some large metal objects that could have done considerable damage to the dredges.

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  • Underwater Altimeter Helps Protect Expensive Instruments

    Anton Smirnov and Job Bello of EIC Labratories with their instrument that can locates deposits of submerged oil.
    Fishers UA-2 underwater altimeter is attached to the instrument to show distance from the seafloor.

    Towing expensive oceanographic equipment close enough to the ocean bottom to be effective, yet far enough away to prevent damage, has always been a challenge. Instruments like magnetometers and metal detectors must be towed fairly close to the seafloor to detect buried objects. The height of sonar systems off the bottom is critical to producing the highest quality images. To help solve this problem JW Fishers developed the UA-2 underwater altimeter. The altimeter allows underwater detection and survey equipment to be towed at a precise altitude above the seabed. The altimeter's transducer mounts on the underside of the towed device, and a cable up to 300 meters in length connects the downstairs electronics to a topside control box. The surface unit uses an LCD display to show the distance between the towed system and the bottom.

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  • Military and Scientists Find Uses for Acoustic Pingers

    Diver with PR-1 pinger receiver
    Inset photo: KHOA's Ms. Kang holding MFP-1 acoustic pinger with extended housing
    - Photo by Steve Barsky

    Military units and scientists are finding a broad range of applications for acoustic pingers. Pingers are signaling devices that are attached to an underwater site or instrument package, allowing it to be quickly relocated. Using a pinger receiver, the sonar signal transmitted by the pinger is easily detected and followed to its source. The pinger receiver can either be carried by a diver or deployed from a boat.

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  • New Tool to Locate Deeply Buried Pipelines and Cables

    Diver swimming with PT-1 pinpointing magnetometer
    Inset photos: (L) Tracking a pipeline on land with the PT-1, (R) The PT-1 faceplate with controls and LED Display.

    Oil and utility companies have been laying pipelines and cables under the ocean for more than a century. Before the introduction of GPS, marking their position was a difficult and tedious task, fraught with error. Over time the position and burial depth of a pipeline or cable can be changed due to storms and other environmental forces. Today, there is a pressing need to accurately map the location of these lines to ensure they are not damaged by dredging, dropped anchors, and other potentially hazardous operations. With a large number of these lines decades old, there is also an urgent need to examine their condition and perform a thorough inspection. The problem is, many can not easily be located.

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  • COMMERCIAL DIVING COMPANIES HELP UTILITIES FIND AND REPAIR DAMAGED CABLES

    Hydro Marine's team works on repairing damaged power cable.
    Inset photo: Southern Gulf Survey divers with CT-1 probe.

    Trying to locate damaged subsea power and communications cables has always been a difficult job. Regulations require cables be buried from several feet to several meters under the ocean bottom to prevent snagging by boat anchors, fishing nets, lobster trawls, etc. The amount of overburden on a cable often means it's too deep to be located with conventional metal detection equipment. The device that has proved most effective in finding them is a cable tracker. This system has two parts, a signal injector and a probe. The injector is attached to the shore end of a line and induces a signal into one of the conductors. The probe is carried by a diver, or used from a boat in shallow water, and detects the electrical pulse transmitted through the wire. Live power cables do not require a signal to be induced. The probe can easily detect the 50 or 60 hertz frequency in the line. Live communications cables can also be detected without the use of the signal injector as the probe will detect the 1,024 Hz tone.

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  • Magnetometers Aid Panama Canal Expansion

    Almost a hundred years after the Panama Canal was first opened, a major expansion project is currently underway. The 50 mile passageway was originally designed to accommodate vessels up to 965 feet long, 106 feet wide, with a maximum draft of 39 feet. Today a new generation of megaships is making the canal obsolete. From freighters to cruise ships, vessels greater than 1,000 feet in length are common. To handle these larger hulls a seven year development program has begun that will add a third lane to accept ships up to 1,200 feet long, 160 feet wide, with drafts up to 50 feet.

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  • Marine Magnetometers Help Police & Utilities

    Oil and utility companies have been laying pipelines under the ocean for many years. Before the introduction of GPS, marking their position was a difficult and tedious task, fraught with error. Over time the position and burial depth of a pipeline was often changed due to storms and other environmental forces. Today, there is a pressing need to accurately map the location of these lines to ensure they are not damaged by dredging, dropped anchors, and other potentially hazardous operations. With a large number of these pipelines decades old, there is also an urgent need to examine their condition and perform a thorough inspection. The problem is; many can not easily be located.

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  • NOAA Research Advanced With Underwater Cameras

    The US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has an army of different divisions and a vast array of responsibilities. Their primary mission is monitoring the condition of the oceans and atmosphere. At NOAA's Coastal Services Center in South Carolina scientists make difficult decisions about habitat conservation and resource management in a complex ocean environment. The more information they can gather, the easier it is to develop good solutions. Many tools are used to assist in their research and one of the most helpful is the towed underwater camera.

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  • TOW IT DEEPER WITH THE DDW-1 DIVE WING

    One of the problems in towing an instrument underwater, is the long length of cable required to get the device down to depth. A typical ratio of cable length to tow depth is 4 to 1, which means 400 feet of cable is required to tow at a depth of 100 feet. Increase the tow speed and even more cable is needed to get to depth. To overcome this problem a depressor wing is used. With the wing, the ratio is cut in half which means the equipment can be towed at a depth of 100 feet using only 200 feet of cable. The advantage is obvious; no more piles of cable on the boat deck and smaller, less expensive cable handling systems can be used.

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  • Underwater Camera Helps California Fishery

    Over the past five years squid has soared past salmon, swordfish, and tuna to become the top seafood species in California by volume and dollar value. The state's harvest of this fast moving mollusk has been nothing short of phenomenal, growing 500 percent since the early 1980s, with a wholesale value of over $30 million; more than double the value of salmon. The "market squid" supports the largest commercial marine fishery both in terms of quantity landed and dollars generated per vessel.

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  • FREE - Underwater Search Newsletter

    Learn where a sunken ship carrying millions in treasure was uncovered, or how a missing WWII aircraft was found, or what equipment is being used to make our ports and harbors more secure. Get Search Team News and you'll know who's using sophisticated underwater search equipment to find everything from Spanish galleons to underwater explosives. The newsletter features articles on underwater search operations from around the world. Read about the technology and techniques being employed by professional treasure hunters, commercial diving companies, law enforcement agencies, and military units.

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  • Side Scan Sonar Aids Katrina Clean-up

    Most people have heard how hurricane Katrina ravaged the city of New Orleans and devastated the gulf coast of Mississippi. Mike Collins of Destin, FL is one of the many people helping in the clean-up effort. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first arrived in Gulfport and saw the damage”, Mike reported. “The tallest thing you could see along the beachfront were the cement slabs where homes once stood. I saw trailers that were washed 4 miles inland. People were living in tents. The bridge to Port St. Louis looked like an atom bomb had hit it. There wasn’t a single piling along its three and a half mile span that wasn’t damaged.”

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  • Underwater Cameras Help Scientists, Police, and Others

    Underwater camera systems are letting us study and explore the two-thirds of our planet that is covered by water as we never have before. A company in Massachusetts, JW Fishers Mfg., has been designing and building specialized underwater video systems for almost two decades. These high tech cameras transmit live video from the ocean bottom through an umbilical cable to the surface allowing real time viewing of the undersea world. Fishers cameras are in use by scientists, universities, law enforcement agencies, dive rescue groups, commercial diving companies, and shipwreck explorers around the world. Here are some examples of how underwater cameras are helping these diverse groups.

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  • New light system for underwater camera

    JW Fishers has developed an external light system for their popular MC-1 mini camera. The compact underwater camera is ideal for use where low cost or small size is critical. The new light system provides high intensity lighting to optimize picture quality. One or two lights can be attached directly to the camera housing with a specially designed, easy to remove bracket. The lights are available with either 100 or 250 watt quartz halogen bulbs and are water cooled to ensure long bulb life. Power is supplied from the surface allowing unlimited operating time. The standard mini camera system includes a 500 foot depth rated underwater housing with black & white camera and 150 feet of umbilical cable. The camera sends live video through the cable to the surface for viewing and recording. Any TV or video monitor can be connected to view the clear, sharp video images produced by the underwater camera.

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  • Underwater Search Newsletter

    JW Fishers has increased the size and scope of its popular newsletter Search Team News. The publication includes numerous articles on underwater search operations performed by government agencies, commercial divers, law enforcement agencies, and military units from around the world. One section of the newsletter titled "Law Enforcement and Dive Rescue News" describes the use of metal detectors, underwater cameras, and side scan sonars by police, fire, and dive rescue units. Another section describes the type of operations performed by universities and government agencies using underwater search equipment. In the "Commercial News" section, the work of commercial diving and marine services companies is detailed. Their projects include tracking underwater pipes and cables, locating lost ship anchors, and inspecting underwater structures like dams and bridge supports.

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  • ROV Metal Detector to Be Used on World's Richest Shipwreck

    Tampa based Odyssey Marine Explorations have located the 1860's steamer S.S. Republic which could be holding the richest cargo ever recovered from a shipwreck. The ship was carrying 59 passengers and 20,000 $20 gold coins when it sank in a hurricane off Savannah, GA in October 1865. Amazingly all the passengers got off alive, but the coins - intended to help pay reconstruction costs after the Civil War - went to the bottom of the Atlantic. An expert has estimated today's value of the coins to be between $120 and $180 million.

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  • Fishers light up your underwater world

    Known for their extensive line of underwater search equipment, JW Fishers has expanded the product line with the introduction of a new underwater light system. For over 10 years the company has produced underwater lights for use on their ROVs and other underwater cameras. As a result of customer demand, the lights are now being offered separately. Two different light systems are available, the DHL-1 dual underwater light and the SL-1 single underwater light. Both lights are ideal for any of the numerous underwater inspection projects encountered by today's commercial and professional divers, including hull, dam, and bridge inspections.

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  • Fisher's Deep Dive Wing makes a Splash!

    Just over a year ago JW Fishers introduced their new DDW-1 deep dive wing. The wing is designed to be attached to any towed underwater instrument and make it dive deeper using less cable. Ideally suited for use with side scan sonars, magnetometers, and underwater cameras it has gained wide acceptance in the underwater search and survey industry. Since it's inception the DDW-1 has become enormously popular with a variety of different users.

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