Finally had the chance to test out the group’s microROV (‘Bluey’) at a local marina. Our version of the BlueROV2 is equipped with an USBL positioning system, small gripper, lights, HD camera and enough backup batteries to go all day. It’s rated to  100 m depth and has 150 m of tether.

Works a treat and we plan to use it for a range of benthic surveys and potentially even some sediment sampling when we can rig up a simple scoop. Below is a GIF of a pylon survey from the marina- not an especially interesting assemblage (mainly introduced or cosmopolitan species) and compressed for web use, but shows how easy to pilot the craft is.

Like aerial drones, the availability of open access software has made for great control and these increasingly inexpensive craft are going to open up many new opportunities for marine environmental work, especially where diving is too expensive or hazardous. Please contact Craig if you think Bluey might be able to help with your work, we are always interested in  collaboration.

One thing we did learn, however, was to avoid floating clumps of dislodged seagrass if possible….pictured below, Hazel is now quite expert at cleaning loose material out of thrusters!