What makes Substructure’s Orion absolutely the best small vessel for multibeam surveys that I have ever experienced? It is simply the attention to detail that isolates all the sources of noise that usually degrade the SONAR signals. The vessel is so incredibly quiet, and the SONAR head so cunningly mounted, that it is almost impossible to acquire poor data. The fact you can collect good, clean data at speeds of up to 14 knots makes this boat worth its weight in gold. Over the course of time, an investment in this type of vessel will repay itself, not only in being able to acquire more data more quickly, but also in reduced processing time. Used in conjunction with data acquisition software that supports real-time correction for motion, refraction and tide, you can collect final soundings in real-time with minimal data cleaning in post processing.
I greatly admired the construction effort that went into the Orion along with its sleek appearance. With no poles, or exposed sensors, survey operations are very nicely concealed, and the accuracy obtained from the through hull mounting arrangement is remarkable.
I was impressed by the thought process Substructure went through in designing Orion. They considered a lot of different design features — from the transducer mount, flow dynamics around the head, and propulsion system to vibration and noise dampening. They did the engineering and development and it shows.
Two things stood out immediately. First was the crew and their dedication to the boat and its mission. This is crucial in a competitive survey industry where mission critical systems must perform at their top level, at all times, in many different, harsh, constantly changing environments. The level of knowledge and enthusiasm of the crew made the complex demonstrations seem easy. There are many things that have to go right in any mission and Substructure left nothing to chance. The crew are all experts in their area and handled their tasks professionally and quickly. Their ability to quickly act to challenges that popped up was impressive. The most important piece of equipment on a boat is the crew.The design of the boat is also very impressive. Acoustic survey boats are judged by how quietly they move through the water. I can see the acoustic signature of a boat in my data by a reduction of range and an elevation of the noise floor. . . The design of the boat and the ADCP mounting system allowed faster survey speeds with no degradation of the data. The mounting system had no sympathetic vibrations that I normally see. I believe this is due to the attention to detail when designing the mount. This attention to detail is evident throughout the boat. It shows it was designed with versatility in mind, but also with performance as the most important factor.
The Orion is a superb Multi Beam Echo Sounder platform, with the flexibility and stability to perform surveys from very high resolution item investigations to high speed surveys at 15 knots. The through hull SONAR mount is very stable, avoids bubble sweep down, and is acoustically quiet at all speeds. The professionalism of the Substructure team made installation and survey demonstrations run smoothly, and the survey professionals we demonstrated the system for were impressed.