Both ARCboats are safer than manned vessels as operators can survey from the bank rather than venturing out on to the water. They also minimise disruption to the environment, as they are operated by extremely quiet, zero emission electric motors.
“We developed the new ARCboat Lite in partnership with the UK’s Environment Agency,” explains Peter Watchorn, Senior Surveyor at HR Wallingford. “A key driver for us was to ensure that the ARCboat Lite was perfect for our users’ requirements. Feedback from the ARCboat’s international user community also fed into the evolution of the design.”
The UK’s Environment Agency will use the ARCboat Lite for its routine hydrometric and bathymetric surveying, primarily in rivers. By measuring the water levels and flow data, it will help mitigate against potential future flooding.
The Environment Agency’s Nick Everard, Technical Advisor, Hydrometry, says: “The original ARCboat has helped transform our river discharge measurement and mapping activities, which are critical to our management of water in times of flood and drought and at all points in between. The boat has made this work safer, more efficient and more enjoyable, while also bringing significant improvements to data quality. The new ARCboat Lite will bring all of these benefits to our work on smaller watercourses, while making deployment easier and even allowing single-person operation where safe and practical.”
The ARCboat Lite can carry the same broad range of third-party equipment as the ARCboat, so users will be able to seamlessly switch their existing instrumentation between the two vessels without needing additional adaptors or kit.
The ARCboat will continue to be developed in parallel with the ARCboat Lite, as the larger version is needed to tackle surveys in faster flowing rivers and in situations where a higher speed vessel is needed. An autonomous control system has recently been added to allow the ARCboat to be pre-programmed with a survey line plan so the operator can concentrate on the quality of the data being collected. HR Wallingford is also integrating a wide angle swath sonar system, which covers a much wider area on each survey line, so surveys can be completed much more quickly.