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Up to date news from a global leader in Underwater ROV technology.
Oct
28

Insights: 5 Tips For Navigating VideoRay’s New Virtual Training Library

Looking for a reliable resource to better understand your VideoRay remotely operated vehicle (ROV)? Then check out our new Training Library! This is where you can find online lessons that are focused on technology, products, management, operation and maintenance of our ROVs.

There are several sections of the library that you can access. Here are tips to 5 key ones found on the main page to get started:

  • A good place to begin is the Table of Contents under the Introduction tab. This provides an overview of what's available in the library.
  • To get a handle on how to properly use the lessons go to the "About this Library" tab.
  • Under the "Curricula" tab you'll find in-depth courses for operators as well as technicians.
  • The "Downloads" tab at the bottom of the main page provides a link to various software downloads that are available on our website – www.videoray.com.
  • Find out what training we provide under the appropriately labeled tab "Training" that's also at the bottom of the main page.

More tips on what's available in the Training Library will be featured in a future Insights article. Stay tuned! 

Here's a screen shot from VideoRay's Training Library website.
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Oct
19

VideoRay’s French Dealer Makes Volatile Discovery With Pro 4

Routine maintenance testing recently of a VideoRay Pro 4 off the coast of France led to an "explosive" encounter – a British mine from World War II that weighed nearly 1,800 pounds. The munition was neutralized last week by French authorities.

The mine was discovered September 14 by VideoRay's French dealer, Neotek, between Groix and Lorient at a depth of approximately 108 feet, according to news accounts.

Jean-Yves Cueff, director of Neotek, said the Pro 4 was undergoing maintenance testing as part of an ongoing contract the company has with the French Navy, which owns the submersible. During the testing, the Pro 4 picked up a sonar echo.

"The echo in the background was quite clear. Then the mini-robot (Pro 4) walked over to see what it was," Cueff was quoted as saying in a newspaper account. In this case, it was " a mine weighing more than 900 kg, of the same type as the one we found four years ago northwest of Groix."

Cueff noted that Pro 4 maintenance testing is usually conducted in an old World War II submarine base, but because the weather and waters were calm on September 14, they decided to conduct the testing in the channel between Groix and Lorient.

He explained that once the mine was picked up during the sonar scan, the Pro 4 navigated to the bomb's location based on the sonar information. Several photos were taken with the Pro 4 and sent to contacts that Neotek has with an explosive ordnance disposal diving team. In turn, the team confirmed that the large object was a mine.

When the diving team and a support crew from GPD Atlantique arrived at the mine's location last week, they freed up the bomb of sand and silt that had accumulated around it before moving the device. It was then towed approximately three nautical miles to a spot where it was detonated, according to news accounts. The location was "a firing zone regularly used by marine commandos."

Cueff said that during World War II, several mines were set up in the channel area by British and U.S. military forces to destroy German submarines operating in that vicinity. He added that he believes more mines are in the area. Whenever these devices are discovered they are always considered highly dangerous because of their explosive potential, he said.

A VideoRay Pro 4's sonar discovered a large World War II mine off the coast of France in mid-September. Photo credit: Neotek.
The Pro 4's camera captured this shot of the large World War II mine recently found off the coast of France. Photo credit: Neotek.
Here's another photo taken by the Pro 4 that recently uncovered a large World War II mine off the coast of France. Photo credit: Neotek.
A diver checks out the World War II mine recently found off the coast of France. Photo credit: GPD Atlantique.
Here's another angle of a diver inspecting a World War II mine recently found off the coast of France. Photo credit: GPD Atlantique.
A metal harness is attached to a large World War II mine so the device can be relocated to a "safe zone" for detonation. The bomb was found by a VideoRay Pro 4 off the coast of France in mid-September. Photo credit: GPD Atlantique.
A large World War II mine recently discovered by a Pro 4 is detonated off the coast of France. Photo credit: GPD Atlantique.
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Oct
15

Shipments Of Defender Systems To U.S. Navy Attract Local Newspaper's Attention

The Pottstown Mercury, our local daily newspaper, published an article today regarding our first shipments of Defender remotely operated vehicle (ROV) systems to the U.S. Navy as part of a $49 million dollar contract to deliver the Navy's Next Generation ROV. Read more about it here.  

A VideoRay Defender in action during an underwater deployment. Photo credit: Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release.
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Oct
13

Insights: 6 Tips for Faster, Safer Drowning Victim Recoveries Using An ROV

A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) can play a critical role in drowning victim recoveries. But to get the most out of the equipment, it's best to plan ahead. Here are six tips to maximize the ROV's capabilities, provided by Tom Crossmon, who owns a consulting company in Duluth, Minn., and is also a VideoRay instructor and dealer.

• Have the right tools in the toolbox. In addition to the ROV, also needed are:
        o Power source – small generator, standard power outlet, or marine battery with inverter.
        o Accessories – sonar, manipulator arm, etc.
• Make sure the equipment is organized, tested, and immediately mobile.
       o Spend 5-10 minutes on planning setup and deployment upon arrival at the site.
       o Map out your approach to tether handling.
       o Make sure you have enough space on-site to operate efficiently.
• Ensure all personnel are experienced and trained. This includes:
       o They are fully trained on the equipment.
       o They understand basic principles of search-and-rescue (SAR) operations.
       o They understand the task at hand and their role in it.
• Know your role, whether it's the ROV pilot, tether handler, or maintenance worker.
• Make sure personnel safety rules are in place.
       o Dress for the weather conditions.
       o Personnel are equipped with personal flotation devices.
• Be prepared for recovery.
       o Have the right equipment/personnel in place.
       o Understand the victim's probable condition/position.
       o Secure the scene from bystanders and news media to protect the privacy and decency of the victim as well as the victim's family and friends.


Having the right equipment and knowing how to use it are critical aspects of drowning victim recoveries. Photo courtesy of HEART.
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Oct
05

Case Study Reveals Ideal Pairing of VideoRay ROVs and OnLogic Computers

See why OnLogic is the "perfect fit" for VideoRay's Mission Specialist remotely operated vehicles in this case study prepared by the global computer hardware company.  

VideoRay Defenders, such as this one, are equipped with OnLogic's mini computers. Photo by Jonny Østvand.
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Oct
01

VideoRay Begins Shipping Defender Underwater Robot Systems To U.S. Navy

October 1, 2020 – Pottstown, PA – Following up on its recent announcement of another multi-million-dollar order for Defender underwater robot systems by the U.S. Navy, VideoRay has shipped units to the naval warfare service branch.

The systems are being delivered with solutions from Greensea, Blueprint Subsea, Nortek and Eddyfi. These best-in class sensors, tooling and software are integrated onto the Defender ROV platform.

The purchase is under VideoRay's existing $49M contract to deliver the Navy's Next Generation ROV. The systems are being assembled and tested in VideoRay's Pottstown, PA facility. They will be used by the Navy for defense and security operations including very shallow water, littoral mine counter measures, port security missions and hull and pier inspection, and shipments will be complete by the end of the year.

The capabilities of the Defender have been cited from a military perspective in recent publications. The VideoRay ROV is prominently mentioned in an article published online titled "Code Name - The Blowfish Project: DTRA Securing the Waterways." The article, which appears on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service website, delves into the activities of the research and development arm of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which "has invested in a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) system capable of identifying and neutralizing underwater improvised explosive devices (UWIEDs)."

In particular, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Bailey, program integrator for the Counter Improvised Threat Technologies Department, is quoted as saying: "Progress has enabled components of the Blowfish system to be integrated into a new ROV – the VideoRay Defender – which is destined to be part of a family of U.S. Navy EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) response vehicles."

And a U.S. Navy publication – "THE PRIMER: Support to the Fleet – Expeditionary Mine Countermeasures" – describes use of the Defender in its "First Real-World Response" for EOD purposes: "The (VideoRay Defender) systems were formally introduced to fleet operators in March of 2020 when the equipment manufacturers provided training to units from EOD Group 1 and 2 in San Diego and Virginia Beach. During the training at the Virginia Beach location, EOD Senior Chief Jeffrey Spengler stationed at the EOD shore detachment at Norfolk Naval Base said the new systems were "more user friendly and capable" than their predecessor. He likened the VideoRay Defender to a "brute" with the required thrust to work in more challenging currents. EM1 Robert Smith who works in EOD Expeditionary Support Unit Two's Robot Shop was pleased that the newer systems could be operated outside of the water for longer periods of time than Seabotix which will help with maintenance and operational checks prior to employment."

ABOUT VideoRay

VideoRay delivered its first ROV in 2000 and has since become the world's leading manufacturer of underwater, portable, inspection-class ROVs. VideoRay underwater robots help prevent terrorism, find and retrieve objects, inspect infrastructure both inland and offshore, and keep divers safe from hazardous conditions. Operators prefer VideoRay systems because they are optimized for intuitive operation, performance, size, weight, payload and deployment speed. To learn more about VideoRay, visit videoray.com or call at +1 610-458-3000.

A VideoRay Defender in action during an underwater deployment. Photo credit: Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release.
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Sep
21

VideoRay Makes A Big Splash Internationally

It's not every day that VideoRay makes the cover of a magazine, let alone one that has a worldwide distribution. But that's where we landed in the latest edition of International Ocean Systems magazine!

Not only that, but the September/October issue includes a four-page article entitled "VideoRay: an American ROV story." The article was written by Marc Deglinnocenti, U.S. correspondent for the magazine, as well as a maritime expert and longtime seaman in various capacities, from captain to commissary officer.

You can read Deglinnocenti's insightful piece here.
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Sep
15

VideoRay ROVs Fully Embraced By Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

To say the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has found VideoRay remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) indispensable would be an understatement. The department has relied on its Defender and Pro 4 to assist with dozens of assignments, from criminal investigations to drowning recoveries.

"We use them both in and out of state if requested.Many police departments, sheriff's departments, state parks, our state bureau of investigation, FBI, and national parks have all requested our assistance," noted Capt. Matt Majors, who is part of TWRA's boating investigations team. The squad is responsible for the care and maintenance of the ROVs and will respond on an as-needed basis day or night, he said.

TWRA's history with VideoRay stretches back to 2012, when it purchased the Pro 4, which is still fully operational. It acquired the Defender in 2018 "frankly because Tennessee is a very long state," Majors explained. "We wanted to strategically place it to minimize our response times to those people and departments in need."

The Pro 4 was obtained through a port security grant to assist with statewide underwater security needs as well as search requests.

"We have used the Pro 4 for evidence searches, port security sweeps of bridges and river frontage, body recoveries, and searches for helicopters/parts, cars, guns, safes, boats, barges, motorcycles, and trucks," Majors said.

He estimates that the unit has been used for approximately 80 body recoveries. Several of those have involved victims in water-filled quarries that range up to 300 feet deep. Under these circumstances, "the danger to divers is quite high," Majors said. By using the Pro 4, that danger is minimized, he added.

The addition of the Defender has given TWRA more power and flexibility in the water, not to mention expanding the agency's footprint to respond to incidents across the state and beyond.

Majors said both VideoRay ROVs give the agency a distinct advantage when used in crime scene investigations.

"It gives us the ability to search and find any evidence effectively, thus returning our officers back in service for calls quicker," he said. "There is also a large component of professionalism to be able to view and record underwater crime scenes without any human interaction. It is a great way to preserve and document evidence."

From a body search-and-recovery perspective, the submersibles offer several benefits.

"The amount of time that our agency used to spend on a body recovery could have gone days if not more than a week prior to getting the VideoRay ROVs," said Capt. George Birdwell, who is also part of the boating investigations team.

By shortening the recovery times, families that have loved ones missing can get closure much quicker, Majors added.

Both men agree that portability is another major advantage offered by the ROVs.

"We can run it from a boat, land, and docks with great ease," Majors said. "And we have had it lowered into canyons within our state parks to find drowning victims."

In addition to Birdwell and Majors, Capt. Joe Campbell is trained to operate the Pro 4 as well as the Defender. Other certified Defender operators are Sgt. Dustin Buttram, Officer Jeff Roberson, and Officer Josh Landrum.

Majors offered some advice for those debating whether to purchase a submersible.

"If any department would like to purchase a ROV, I would highly suggest VideoRay. They need to identify folks to maintain it who will treat it with care and always ensure it is ready to go. Training is key and continued use is a must. Most of our true knowledge from the ROV has been field experience. Train with it. It will save manpower and time afield when searching for any item underwater." 


Enjoy the gallery of TWRA photos below.

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Sep
10

Insights: 6 Tips For Using Greensea Workspace

 As one of our partners, Greensea Systems provides Workspace software for our remotely operated vehicles. This Insights article delves into six tips that make it easier to navigate within Workspace.

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Sep
08

Local Newspaper Spreads Word About VideoRay's U.S. Navy Order

The Pottstown Mercury, our local newspaper, provided great coverage of our latest U.S. Navy order. Check it out here.


A VideoRay Defender is dispatched to an underwater target. Photo credit: Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release.
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Sep
02

Pulse Quickens For HEART With Additional Drowning Recoveries

The pace of drowning victim recoveries has not let up for HEART, the Canadian underwater search and recovery squad. The team assisted with two drowning victim cases in August, with the VideoRay Pro 5 at the forefront of their efforts. That's in addition to two recovery responses in June.

One of the recoveries in early August finally brought closure to the family of a 6-year-old Canadian boy who went missing at a lake on June 23. For the other recovery last month, it only took a matter of days to locate the 23-year-old victim.

Hutterian Emergency Aquatic Response Team, or HEART, from southern Manitoba in Canada had been asked on June 29 to help find the boy who had drowned at Makwa Lake in Northern Saskatchewan. When the squad arrived on site, they discovered that the Grandmother's Bay recovery team, a search-and-rescue unit which owns a VideoRay Pro 4, was also there to assist. Despite being at the lake for five days, HEART and other searchers came up empty-handed.

Manuel Maendel, one of HEART's leaders, said they returned to the lake on July 31 to deploy a side scan sonar that they didn't have available the first time because it needed to be repaired. Although they searched a wider area, the team's efforts were fruitless.

"We went home having done everything we could," Maendel said. "But I reviewed the sonar images and I came across an anomaly in the images that really caught my eye and I couldn't get my mind off it. It was in the area where we had checked several times."

Once again, the team made the one-way, 12-hour road trek to the lake, this time on August 5. On a hunch, Maendel said, they asked the missing boy's brother if the boys were on the lake using makeshift rafts when the 6-year-old disappeared in the water. When their hunch was confirmed, they shifted their attention to an area where they thought one of the rafts drifted. Using side scan sonar, they came across an image.

"We anchored and put the ROV down and I picked up the anomaly pretty much right away that was about 60 feet deep," Maendel said, noting that they were finally able to bring closure to the boy's family with the recovery.

As a result of HEART's involvement in this situation, search-and-recovery teams in the Saskatchewan area are pressing local and federal officials for funding to purchase equipment, such as ROVs, instead of relying on squads like HEART, which are located hundreds of miles away and aren't always immediately available.

"The teams are already there but they lack the equipment," Maendel explained. "So, we will put them in contact with the appropriate people to obtain similar equipment. We want other agencies to do what we do."

Ironically, Maendel and his 19-year-old son, Brendan, ended up returning to Northern Saskatchewan August 20 for another drowning victim search, this time at Bittern Lake. The 23-year-old victim had jumped into the lake on August 15 to rescue another person who fell off a boat that he also was on, according to news reports.

Maendel said that after several hours of searching they were successful in locating and recovering the body in about 10 feet of water using the combination of side sonar and the Pro 5.

To show their appreciation, representatives from Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) and the PAGC search team presented Maendel and his son with traditional jackets made by a 95-year-old elder.

Maendel noted that the Pro 5 has been used nearly a dozen times in recovery incidents since they acquired it last year.

A VideoRay Pro 5 stands ready next to HEART's response boat at a Canadian lake in August.
HEART members are surrounded by equipment, including a VideoRay Pro 5 control panel on the right, while participating in a drowning victim search in August at a Canadian lake.
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Aug
31

U.S. Navy Places Order For Additional VideoRay Remotely Operated Vehicles Slated For Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)

Future Navy capabilities enhanced with man-portable Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) with extensive EOD toolkit

Pottstown PA - VideoRay announced that another multi-million dollar order for Defender ROV systems has been placed by the U.S. Navy. The purchase is under VideoRay's existing $49M contract to deliver the Navy's Next Generation ROV. The systems will be assembled and tested in VideoRay's Pottstown, Pennsylvania facility prior to being shipped to the Navy for worldwide operations.

"This order is the culmination of years of tight integration with many Navy units in San Diego," said Scott Bentley, CEO of VideoRay. "It will result in additional hiring and significant spend in the Pottstown region, and with our development partners throughout the U.S. and beyond."

The procurement process was facilitated through the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), which provided open communications and a competitively awarded production contract which allows further scaling within the Navy based on requirements set forth by PMS-408, allowing VideoRay to collaborate on a solution. As a result, the VideoRay Defender systems have been optimized to best support the U.S. Navy EOD technician and warfighter.

The VideoRay Defender is a highly capable remotely operated vehicle, and is also becoming a standard in other markets beyond defense, most notably in offshore energy and infrastructure industries. The VideoRay Defender systems will be used by the Navy for defense and security operations including very shallow water, littoral mine counter measures, port security missions and hull and pier inspection.

The systems will be delivered with solutions from Greensea, Blueprint Subsea, Nortek and Eddyfi. These best-in class sensors, tooling and software are integrated onto the Defender ROV platform.

Here is a link to a Navy publication describing use of the Defender in its "First Real-World Response" for EOD purposes:

THE PRIMER: Support to the Fleet – Expeditionary Mine Countermeasures

https://www.dvidshub.net/publication/issues/55470#page=10&zoom=auto,-100,765


ABOUT VideoRay

VideoRay delivered its first ROV in 2000, and has since become the world's leading manufacturer of underwater, portable, inspection-class ROVs. VideoRay underwater robots help prevent terrorism, find and retrieve objects, inspect infrastructure both inland and offshore, and keep divers safe from hazardous conditions. Operators prefer VideoRay systems because they are optimized for intuitive operation, performance, size, weight, payload and deployment speed. To learn more about VideoRay, visit videoray.com or call at +1 610-458-3000. 

A VideoRay Defender in action during an underwater deployment. Photo credit: Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release.
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Aug
28

Three Pro 4s Pressed Into Action Following Minnesota Plane Crash

 A Minnesota search and rescue team deployed three of its VideoRay Pro 4s last week for a fatal plane crash in a Northern Minnesota lake. Two of the remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) were successful in recovering the victim from the wreckage.

The crash occurred around 11 p.m. on August 20 at White Iron Lake, which is located within Superior National Forest and approximately five miles from the town of Ely. The victim, a well-respected dentist from Woodbury, Minn., had left Ely Airport about 45 minutes prior to the accident, according to news reports.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Volunteer Rescue Squad was called to assist shortly after the crash occurred, said Undersheriff Dave Phillips. By the time the team arrived, the plane's fuselage had been located. Two Pro 4s were sent to the lake floor about 30 feet from the surface to recover the pilot. Phillips explained that it was a challenging recovery because of all the plane debris surrounding the victim.

"It wasn't easy but the ROVs worked very well," said Phillips, who has been with the sheriff's office for more than 30 years.

Phillips noted that the decision to recover the body was made in part because divers were unavailable at that time of night and the waters were relatively calm. Had they waited until the next day, the water conditions may not have been as favorable, he said.

He pointed out that the multi-beam sonar on the ROVs was very helpful in identifying the debris, making it easier for the ROVs to maneuver around the wreckage.

Another Pro 4 was deployed to try to retrieve the fuselage. The debris, however, proved to be too heavy to lift for the submersible and caused some damage, Phillips noted.

The undersheriff praised the efforts of all involved, including responders from the Lake County Sheriff's Office, Lake County Rescue Squad, Morse-Fall Lake Fire Department and Ely Ambulance. He also spoke respectfully of the victim.

"It sounds like he was a really great guy who was loved by family, friends and colleagues," Phillips said. "Our prayers are with the family."

The accident is still under investigation to determine the cause of the crash.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Office has a long history of working with VideoRay submersibles. They acquired their first ROV several years ago and upgraded to newer models over the years until they purchased the Pro 4s with a grant.

The rescue team, which is made up of a mix of about 20 volunteer Rescue Squad members and deputy sheriffs, trains regularly with the Pro 4s.

"When we get called for a drowning the whole team is engaged and everybody has something to do," Phillips said.

He added that the Pro 4s have been pressed into service dozens of times since their acquisition.

A member of the St. Louis County Sheriff's Volunteer Rescue Squad oversees a control console of a VideoRay Pro 4 during training.
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Aug
17

New Pro 4 Now In Hands Of Seoul, South Korea Rescue Team

A rescue team in the capital of South Korea is now in possession of a new VideoRay Pro 4. The 119 Special Rescue Team of Seoul Fire and Disaster received the submersible on July 29 from Triton Hi-Tech, a VideoRay dealer in South Korea.

The team conducted tests of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) from three different companies before choosing VideoRay's sub. The selection process included testing the Pro 4 in a reservoir and a swimming pool.

The 119 Special Rescue Team responds to water-related accidents throughout Seoul as well as along the Han River, which is one of the longest rivers in South Korea.

Triton Hi-Tech has now delivered three Pro 4 ROVs in the past two months. The other two submersibles are in use by Samsung Heavy Industries' Geoje Shipyard and the Busan 119 Nakdong River Water Rescue Team. 

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Aug
14

Insights: 11 Tips To Prep For A Recovery Operation

A recovery operation with a ROV requires a lot of preparation in advance. The last thing you want is to run into a snafu while trying to get the sub in the water or when it's submerged. Here is a quick rundown of 11 prep tips to consider:

  • All personnel involved in the recovery operation should be properly trained and understand the potential risks of the operation.
  • Conduct a briefing with everyone involved before starting the operation. Some suggested topics to cover include:

         o The plan for the operation.
         o Communications and responsibilities.
         o Weather and water conditions.
         o Timeline for the operation.
         o Backup plans.

  • All participants should wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) when working on the water.
  • Familiarize yourself with the boat you're on and be aware of any operational "quirks."
  • Secure items on dock/deck.
  • Keep the worksite organized and safe from self-created hazards.
  • Use lock-out, tag-out procedures when needed.
  • Know your load before beginning a recovery operation and take the appropriate steps to deal with it. There are four basic loads:

        o Static load is the stationary hanging weight of a load.
        o Dynamic loading is a load that changes its weight during the recovery
           process.
        o Shock loading is a condition that occurs when velocity (acceleration)
           is added to the mass of an object.
        o Friction loading is when additional load is added by the object being
           lifted and coming in contact with another surface or material.

  • Check your ROV's physical status for any deteriorating or loose parts as well as all connections. Replace defective parts if necessary.
  • Check the tether and control panel to ensure both are in good working order.
  • Don't be afraid to call off an operation if the risks exceed an acceptable threshold.
Before embarking on a recovery, it’s important to assemble a qualified team and prep it for the assignment. Photo courtesy of HEART
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Aug
12

Insights: 7 Troubleshooting Tips For ROV Operational Problems

If you've run into a problem operating your VideoRay ROV, here are seven basic troubleshooting guidelines that could be helpful in addressing the situation:

  • Suspect and check the obvious first. It's easy to get distracted and overlook something obvious.
  • Recheck the obvious. Have someone verify your work. If you're helping someone, verify what you've been told. Sometimes, just talking through the details can help you realize you missed a step or fact.
  • Understand correct operation and expected results. How should it work and what should happen? Does it?
  • Learn and recognize symptoms. What are the results telling you? What are the most likely suspects and what can be ruled out?
  • Isolate, divide and conquer. Classify the problem to sub-systems, remove what you can, and substitute known working parts if possible. Or, try suspect parts with a known working system.
  • One step at a time. Be logical and make each test provide results you can use to narrow down the problem.

If after following these guidelines you still need to contact VideoRay for remote support, the best ways to reach us are by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling +1 610 458 3000, Option 1.

Prior to contacting Customer Support for assistance, gather as much information as possible. This includes:

  • Company name and contact information
  • System model
  • Serial number of the affected component(s)
  • Accessories in use
  • Detailed information about the issue:
    • Symptoms
    • Troubleshooting performed on the equipment so far
    • Operating conditions that created the symptoms
    • Anything new or unusual about the system or operations
    • Photos and/or videos highlighting the problem

VideoRay's Support web page also has additional information about a variety of topics, including:

  • Principles of Customer Interactions
  • Customer Care Philosophy
  • Technical Support Policy
  • Authorized Service Center Regional Support
                                                                                                                                                                                   Photo by Brett Garner/Lindblad
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Aug
04

Insights: 10 Tips To Consider Before Entering Confined Spaces

Depending on the assignment, you may encounter confined spaces or cluttered areas when operating your ROV. Under such circumstances, you need to consider several things before proceeding:

Do you truly need to enter the confined space or area? The best way to mitigate risks is to avoid them all together.

Do you have permission to enter the confined space or area? For instance, some wrecks may be preserved sites and off limits to ROVs.

Like driving somewhere new, it is best to have a map. Are there plans of the space that you can use as a reference?

What is your goal – general observation, mapping the space or area, detailed inspection, retrieval of an object? This may affect how you configure the ROV and how you operate within the space.

One way to practice for such encounters is to operate the ROV in a swimming pool. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Direct the ROV back and forth though a submerged hoop (use a hula hoop with a weight and a float, or a more elaborately shaped object like the opening you expect to penetrate. Practice going in forward and turning around to exit, as well as coming back out in reverse too. You should be able to judge the size of the opening relative to the ROV and be able to penetrate it without bumping it. Use an increasingly smaller size opening to hone your skills.
  • Submerge something that has protruding spars. Wrap your tether around one or more of the spars. Use your manipulator to remove your tether from the spar.
  • Practice following your tether – fly out, turn around, find your tether and follow it back as closely as possible.


Here are some other suggestions before embarking on a real-life situation:

  • You should install and use a manipulator to be able to move objects or manage your tether.
  • Tether management is critical – make sure to use an experienced tether handler. For example, when returning from the confined space, you want to minimize any loop of tether behind you to avoid it getting snagged on something, but at the same time, you don't want the tether handler to pull too hard on the ROV. The handler and pilot should practice in the pool.
  • Plan ahead for the worst-case scenario – will you attempt a recovery, or just cut the tether? If you plan a recovery, you may need a second ROV equipped with a cutter and manipulator jaws. If you are not comfortable with your skills or your situation, be ready to abort and regroup for another attempt rather than risk entrapment and loss of expensive equipment.
  • As a pilot, you need to be able to estimate the size and shape of the area – do you have enough room to fit? Do you have enough room to turn around, or do you need to back out?
  • Plan your penetration carefully. If the opening is smooth on one side but ripped open or jagged on the other, it will be better to approach from the smooth side to prevent damage to the tether.
  • Always be on the lookout for tether snag locations (spars) or pinch points (v-shaped notches). Avoid these!
  • Here's a video of tether management to remove tether from a snag. This was a combination of the tether handler and the pilot working together to overcome the obstacle. Neither could do the job on their own.   
Pictured here is a tether wrapped around a spar in a half hitch. The piece of tether on the right is the side connected to the surface. As a pilot, you need to be able to address this type of situation using the manipulator. The tether handler will not be able to help until you lift the loop off the spar.
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Jul
28

Insights: Part 2 -- Tips For Operating A ROV In Strong Currents

Welcome to another edition of "Insights." These posts are intended to provide guidance on how to operate your ROV during challenging missions and in a variety of situations. Following up on Part 1 of our first "Insights" blog regarding 9 tips for operating a ROV in strong currents, here are more guidelines to consider:

Know when and how to live boat (deploying from a boat that is not anchored).
• When live boating, run the ROV downstream, working it left and right, letting tether out as needed.
• If you are working in current more than 3 knots, live boat with the engine facing upstream and deploy the ROV from the bow downstream. Hold on to the tether and move the boat to position the ROV into the right spot.

Keep lines of communication open between key participants.
Maintain tight communication between the pilot and tether handler.
• Make sure the tether handler communicates to the pilot as tether is deployed into the water – usually every 5m.
• The tether handler needs to be focused on what the pilot needs them to do; there is usually no time for delays.

Don't forget about the turns counter.
• Pay careful attention to the turns counter. Tether has memory – for each turn you put in the tether, it will try and counter, which puts torque on the ROV. This will make it difficult to fly.

Know your tether types.
• Select the right tether combination. VideoRay offers one negatively buoyant and two neutrally buoyant tether types to accommodate various conditions and configurations. If you're operating at depth, use a length of tether with a neutral PPT. It is thinner and will provide much less drag on the ROV. Negative tether can also be used, but too much in the water will drag the ROV down.

Stay calm and if you can't beat it, go with it.
• Sometimes the best you can do is to position yourself upstream of your target and fly the ROV like a kite in the stream. You will still have some limited lateral and vertical control to hopefully get within visual or sonar range of your target.
• Be soft in your wrist and tough in your flight. If you fly with fear the current will win every time.
• Try not to be in midwater if you don't have to be. If it's impossible, then sit on the seabed and use the camera and yaw function of the ROV.
• Stay calm and do not forget to wear your personal flotation device.
Have questions or need more information? You can email Rob Cornick, Dedicated Technical Support Analyst with VideoRay, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you have specific topics you'd like us to cover, let us know. And if you've discovered a few of your own "insights" that you'd like to share, we want to hear from you! You can post a comment our LinkedIn page or you can reach us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Remember that you can stay on top of all the "Insights" by following our LinkedIn page on a regular basis.
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Jul
28

Introducing "Insights" -- A New Go-To Resource For ROV Operators

Looking to get the most out of your remotely operated vehicle (ROV)? We're here to help you with a new series called "Insights." These posts will provide guidance on how to operate your ROV during challenging missions and in a variety of situations, such as maneuvering in strong currents or deploying the sub in remote locations. We are sure you will find this information invaluable.

We'll share several of these "Insights" right here, but by following our LinkedIn page you'll have access to all of them on a regular basis.

If you have specific topics you'd like us to cover, let us know. And if you've discovered a few of your own "insights" that you'd like to share, we want to hear from you! You can reach us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Or you can leave a comment on our LinkedIn page.

Now on to our first "Insight":

Did you miss our recent webinar with Sonardyne? No worries! We have some great information to share with you from that program. Rob Cornick, Dedicated Technical Support Analyst with VideoRay, offered "9 Tips for Operating in Strong Currents." Here are the first 4 tips. We'll present the other 5 in a follow-up post.

Keep your tether short and controlled.
• Deploy as little tether in the water as possible, as it will act like a sail and pull on the ROV.
• Let tether out so the ROV can travel down current or up current to the target. Drag increases when working perpendicular to the current.

Understand your environment before deployment.
• Fly with the current using the tether as a fishing line to control the force on the ROV.
• Use a clump weight on tether when possible to offset tether drag. This is especially helpful with surface and mid-water currents as the weight stabilizes the tether from the surface to the working depth. Lash a carabiner or small weight bag to your tether behind the ROV (safely spreading the load over at least 6 inches of tether) and leaving a short leash for the required excursion. Add necessary weight(s) to the carabiner or bag until the tether hangs straight down in the water column.
• Use natural current breaks, known as eddies, to protect the ROV from the current. Protection can be provided by a ship's hull, a structure in the water like a bridge footer, a protected area on a river, or even a wreck on the seafloor.
• If you fly from shore it is better to reposition your control box several times, rather than use too much tether in the water.
• If you use sonar, prepare for the inspection/search by pre-viewing the area first with a long-range sonar scan. This way you can identify underwater hazards like tree branches or other debris so you can plan your inspection strategically.
• Heading into the current when possible gives you the best control over the ROV. You will need to take a diagonal heading and "crab" across the current to reach your target rather than flying a straight line. Always start upstream and go downstream with a short "leash."

Make sure the ROV has the thrust/power to work in the environment.
• If your ROV doesn't have powerful thrust, you are probably not going to be able to operate in strong currents. Understand the thrust you have available during operations and how to command it when you need it. A general rule of thumb is to have around twice the amount of thrust to the ROV's mass you are deploying.
• VideoRay's new Mission Specialist Defender is producing incredible results for pilots offering superior performance and maneuverability. Seven powerful thrusters provide you with six degrees of freedom control including lateral movement, pitch, and roll.

Plan the full mission in detail and have a back-up plan just in case.
• Plan the mission around tidal windows when possible.
• Time your operations as close to slack tides as possible. Don't be fooled by general tide times. Moving just a short distance from the port where the tide times are listed for can change the slack water times by 30-60 minutes, so be ready to throw the ROV in an hour before the quoted slack tide.
• Pay attention to neap tides and spring tides. Timing your operations right can add valuable time to your operational window.

Have questions or need more information? Feel free to contact Rob at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And stay on top of all the "Insights" by following our LinkedIn page.

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Jul
22

South Korean Shipyard Takes Delivery Of New Pro 4

Following on the heels of another Pro 4 sale, Triton Hi-Tech, a VideoRay dealer in South Korea, has sold a Pro 4 to Samsung Heavy Industries' Geoje Shipyard in South Korea. The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) will be used for ship inspection and underwater survey.

The shipyard, located in South Gyeongsang Province, has been using a VideoRay Explorer ROV for about 10 years.

Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) is one of the largest shipbuilders in the world and one of the "Big Three" shipbuilders in South Korea. Geoje Shipyard has three dry docks and five floating docks. Among the company's pursuits is the engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and delivery of transportation ships for the commercial industry; drilling and floating production units for the oil and gas sector; and digital instrumentation and control devices for ships.

Just prior to the Geoje Shipyard delivery, Triton Hi-Tech delivered another Pro 4 system to the Busan 119 Nakdong River Water Rescue Team in Busan, South Korea. The team is responsible for overseeing safety, search and rescue activities along the river.

Samsung Heavy Industries’ Geoje Shipyard in South Korea has expanded its capabilities with a new VideoRay Pro 4.
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