Handing over samples from a Hovercraft after a survey

Hovercraft Surveys and Sampling

Intertidal has developed safe and reliable methodologies for using amphibious hovercraft to access difficult environments. These include estuaries and inshore coastal areas, as well as ports, harbours and rivers. Hovercraft are ideal for covering terrain rapidly where shallow water, sandbanks, mudflats or strong tides make conditions impossible or dangerous for other vehicles. Sampling times are reduced because large distances over mixed land/water terrains can be covered rapidly. The hovercraft can be launched from slipways, beaches, flood banks or using a crane.

Intertidal can collect a range of sediment and water samples to analyse for chemical, biological and physical parameters. We use a variety of sample collection techniques, including vacuum coring to take large samples of very soft sediment. We routinely sample common sediment types, most often for:

  • Contaminants (hydrocarbons, metals, microplastics, etc)
  • Seagrass
  • Macroalgae (seaweed)
  • Invertebrates (e.g. Phase 1 Habitat Surveys)
  • Diatoms
  • Particle size analysis (PSA)
  • Saltmarsh vegetation

Additionally, we use our hovercraft as a survey platform. Common applications are:

  • Mapping seagrass (quadrating and bed extent)
  • Mapping macroalgae coverage
  • Ground truthing for aerial and satellite mapping
  • Monitoring Managed Realignment sites
  • Monitoring Habitat Compensation Schemes
  • Topographic mapping
  • Terrestrial laser scanning (Lidar)
  • Photographic surveys (sea defences, pipelines, cables, marine infrastructure, archaeology)
  • Multi-spectral imagery for saltmarsh, seagrass and seaweed characterisation
  • Pre- and post-development monitoring schemes
  • Monitoring dredging impacts

In the last few years, we have increasingly used the hovercraft as a platform for drone operations (quadcopter and fixed wing). Flying drones from a hovercraft extends the range and coverage of the drone. Significant synergies are possible from combining these two platforms and this area is developing rapidly. If you have a specific project in mind, then please get in touch. We are passionate about leveraging technologies to extend the scope of what we can achieve in the field.

Mapping using fixed wing drone
Preparing from a hovercraft, the deployment of a fixed-wing drone for aerial survey work