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Site Characterisation

Realtime Telemetry Positioning

New tools developed at sea to reduce risk for client.
North East Coast, USA

How can we improve the real-time positioning of trenching vehicles to reduce risk?

Shallow water presents a uniquely challenging environment for trenching vehicles and positioning is critical in the safe execution of trenching projects.  Sulmara was commissioned by our windfarm client in the Northeast US to deliver trenching survey support for inter-array and export cables coming to shore.


The Sulmara software development team built a suite of tools specifically aimed at improving the efficiency and delivery of trenching data.

Over the four months of this project, Sulmara supported the operation of the XLX WROV c/w dual head R2Sonic 2024 utilising the TSS440 as product tracking sensor.

Sulmara established that by using augmented positioning by exploiting the dynamics of a tracked vehicle and incorporating telemetry into a specially designed positioning program, a trencher position can be determined even during the periods without an acoustic position update. 

This was the perfect solution when operating in the very short current windows.


The positioning of a trenching vehicle in shallow water with all the acoustics of a vessel presents a constant challenge to prevent the trencher from going off-course and destroying the cable. 

When the USBL update is lost this risk increases. Sulmara saw a better way and the suite of tools built in response to this continuing problem whilst at sea was the solution to resolving the problems.

It gave a clearer picture of data to allow the positioning to be more accurate and therefore adjustments could be made in response to the data avoiding any problematic changes in course.


“Innovation is the heart of Sulmara and our offshore teams continually strive to improve our service by developing new solutions. This project and the solutions created whilst offshore is a testament to the dedication and quality of our field staff.”

Kevin MacBarron CEO

The system has improved the safety case for shallow water trenching operations using larger assets closer to the shore, maximising the operational windows per day and enabled the client to work closer to the beach and reduce the overall trenching duration. The Helix trenching team were continually complimentary at how stable positioning was throughout the project compared to incumbent methods.