Side scan sonar is used to image ocean, lake, or river bottoms. This marine technique uses acoustic pulses shot sub-horizontally through the water, which reflect off objects that project above the bottom. The strength and travel time of these reflected pulses are recorded and processed into an image of the bottom. Since side scan sonar illuminates the sea floor with a pulse of sound rather than light, it works even in murky or black water.

RETTEW has used side scan sonar in searches for shipwrecks, downed aircraft, lost anchors, drowning victims, and dumped drums or other debris. In addition to underwater searches, we use side scan sonar for underwater inspections of shipping channels and docking berths to detect obstructions, pipelines for snags or deviations, and bridge piers for scour. When mapping large areas of the sea floor, we can digitally merge individual sonar swaths to produce seamless, geo-referenced mosaics that can be readily overlain with other data in a GIS system.

RETTEW’s unparalleled underwater expertise has been tapped by the FBI, U.S. Armed Forces, and international navies to help inspect shipping channels, or assist in a recovery mission. Our marine geophysics technology is ready to help you.