Surveys for Port and Harbours

Ports, and the associated infrastructure, have significant economic and social importance to countries like Australia which is dependent on maritime trade.

Our team are port and harbour survey specialists and have a proven reputation for providing  a comprehensive hydrographic survey service. Surveying in ports is critical to the management of all ports and harbours.

What does our survey team do?

PHS monitor and assess changes to the seabed. Our hydrographic surveyors collect data to be used for charting purposes and safe navigation. These charts show details about the water depth and the water’s edge, including features such as submerged rocks. The data collected can also be used to declare depths for berths and shipping channels, and to assist marine construction and dredging.

PHS can also install and maintain an extensive network of metocean (meteorological and oceanographic) equipment to aid ships navigation and improve safety on the water.

Why is regular surveying in ports important?

Industries such as tourism, shipping and ports, and offshore oil and gas are key sectors of the Blue Economy, and all are prone to serious but preventable accidents. If hydrographic information and data is not correctly collected, analysed, and processed, it could have serious implications and result in ships running aground, cause damage to property, cause a pollution incident, or be a contravention of local laws.

Skilful hydrographic surveying practices are an essential activity for all port maintenance and development projects. Regular hydrographic surveying is critical for activities such as deepening navigable channels, construction of new facilities, or the servicing of modern ships. This requires accurate knowledge of the water depth and identification of anything that may become a danger to the safe navigation of these vessels. Without accurate and reliable information about the seabed, vessels could have their safety compromised when they navigate through ports and harbours.

The increasing popularity of larger, special-purpose ships has increased the demand on many ports across the world. This is because these vessels require deeper and wider channels, as well as modern facilities to ensure their quick turn-around. In some cases, ships can be constrained by their draft and require unimpeded passage.

Hydrographic surveying in ports can also provide an economic benefit. The data collected can provide ships accurate depth measurements, allowing them to carry a greater weight of cargo to their maximum draft tolerance (the distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull).

Why is object detection and/or debris clearance necessary in ports?

Regular surveying of ports and harbours is essential to ensure maritime operations can be carried out safely. Foreign objects often find their way onto the seabed, from tyres coming off tug fenders and other objects falling off vessels. Without action and removal, these objects can cause a hazard to shipping and can compromise navigational safety of larger, deep-hulled vessels arriving at, or departing a port.

Identification of these objects requires high-quality data acquisition and detailed processing of data. Inspection of harbour walls, structures and pontoons are also required to ensure the integrity of port management.

What technology is used when surveying in ports?

PHS provide high-resolution depth data using Multibeam Echo Sounders (MBES) when total coverage of the seabed topography is required.

PHS have a pool of equipment and systems, including tide gauges, multibeam echo sounders, side scan sonar systems, and analysis platforms to ensure the correct equipment is used for the required client outcome.

“PHS have assisted the Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA) by providing hydrographic surveying, tidal studies and quality control services. These services have led to a better understanding of the port in relation to available depths and tide observations, ultimately leading to a greater port capacity whilst improving safety for our visiting draft restricted vessels.”

Frans Schlack

Previously Dredging Manager at Pilbara Ports Authority (Retired)

Contact us to understand how PHS can elevate your understanding and connection with the marine environment.