Sub-Surface Mooring Tracking & Recovery

Organizations involved in offshore survey, science and environmental monitoring routinely deploy bottom-mounted packages containing valuable instrumentation. These packages are designed to remain on the bottom of the ocean for extended periods before being recovered on command.

The recovery process usually involves sending a ship to the recorded location, triggering an acoustic release and then searching for the package as it floats to the surface. Upon recovery, moorings float up through hundreds or thousands of meters of strong currents, often with subsurface layers moving in different directions than the surface layer. As a result, relatively small instrument packages can surface several kms from the expected location. Due to the vast scale of the open ocean, it can be extremely difficult to locate a mooring package from a large vessel. To solve this critical problem in the recovery process, marine operators use beacons, which include communications (Iridium satellite, cellular or radio) and a bright flashing light to ensure the recovery of valuable assets in a timely and efficient manner.

Ocean bottom-mounted instrument packages can also surface unexpectedly when mooring equipment fails. Beacons can be triggered to turn on either when the reach the surface or by the movement associated with surfacing. In the event of an unexpected mooring surfacing, the beacon therefore alerts the owner and starts transmitting location information, so that the package can be recovered.

Sub-surface mooring tracking