Coast Guard device demo pleases environmental group

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 5:03 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - It’s light and it’s watertight. In Clayton Wednesday, onlookers were given a demonstration of the U.S. Coast Guard’s new Deep Trekker ROV, a remote operated vehicle that’s making waves in the field of environmental analysis.

“It collects imagery below the waterline. We use this capability for pollution response and marine casualty response,” said U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Carrie Foster, supervisor, Marine Safety Detachment, Massena.

For pollution response, the ROV will act as a scout, diving underwater to determine the specific source of pollution in a given area.

It’ll serve a similar role for water casualties, giving operators a first-person view of crashed boats through the controller’s built-in viewscreen. The ROV’s main advantage is that it’s not a diver.

“It reduces risk. By not having to deploy a diver, it enhances our capabilities in the winter months especially when we have ice conditions. We can deploy the ROV below the ice,” said Foster.

Controlling the ROV is actually pretty simple. It uses a pair of joysticks that aren’t all that different from a remote control airplane.

The environmental group Save the River was also at the demonstration. As experts on pollution along the St. Lawrence River, they’ve partnered with the Coast Guard.

Executive Director John Peach says the ROV will be a remarkable tool.

“It’s going to be very useful if there’s ever another spill or grounding of a ship or broken pipeline,” he said.

The Coast Guard has only been using this specific type of ROV for about half a year. Officials say a timeline for widespread adoption is yet to be determined.