Benthic Landers


Global Ocean Design - Ocean Innovations - Ocean Innovations


Benthic Landers

Benthic Landers, also known as Free Vehicles, are the most cost-effective way to get to mid-water or benthic locations. They can carry traps, samplers, and sensors. They can travel to any depth, and remain for indefinite periods of time. Benthic Landers remain independent of the ship and surface, release an expendable weight on command, and actively assist in their location and recovery, day or night, rain or fog.  They can be released with countdown timers, acoustic command, galvanic time releases (GTR), or by a pre-programmed event trigger.

The lower payload bay carries the mission-specific instrument or sampler. As long as the payload fits the mechanical, weight, and interface limits, the lander will do the hauling down and back again.

Based on years of successful deployment and recoveries, Global Ocean Design has designed a fleet of Benthic Landers, complementing any researcher’s experiment size, budget, and ship available.

Advantages of the BL Lander design approach include:

  • The self-righting vehicle design maintains a vertical attitude independent of the slope and uneven surfaces of the seafloor.
  • An expendable anchor is connected by an expendable shot of chain to the vehicle releases inside the frame, isolating the vehicle release mechanism from seafloor entanglements.
  • Spheres function as both flotation and instrument housings, making the overall vehicle size and weight less.
  • Expendable anchors may be purchased in most ports-‘o-call
  • Operations may be conducted on smaller charter vessels from ports close to the site of interest, freeing researchers from the significant cost and scheduling issues of dedicated oceanographic vessels.
  • Some BL Landers are small enough to be lifted by hand from the ocean, yet strong enough to journey to the bottom of any ocean trench.
  • Small free vehicles with no HazMat have been flown overnight on passenger aircraft to remote destinations. The deepest places in the Atlantic and Pacific are close to the American Trust Territories of Puerto Rico and Guam, respectively, simplifying U.S. Customs approval.

Ships of opportunity, such as the Sea Keeper International’s Discovery Yachts, are making the cost of sea borne operations negligible. Together, these new/old techniques of access to the sea and access to the depths are providing researchers rediscovered opportunities for system development and hypothesis testing.

The BL-100, smallest in the fleet, can operate to 2,000 m using 10” Dia Polystyrene spheres, and to over 6,000m using glass spheres supplied by other manufacturers. The frames are available without spheres if a researcher has their own.

The BL-130, the middle lift vehicle, uses three 13” Dia spheres.

The BL-170, the largest in the series, uses two 17” Dia spheres.

Benthic Landers may be used singly, in distributed groups, as near bottom devices, tethered off the seafloor in the water column overhead, or linked together in a vertical series of two or more.

Potential Lander Configuration

The reprint “Free Vehicles: Lander Technologies Mature” is in our Reference Library. Click here to view.

Contact Ocean Innovations at (858) 454-4044 or brock@o-vations.com