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An illustration depicting underwater mapping capability of USNU Bowditch (T-AGS 62)

Hydrographic vessel Marshal Gelovani

Clintons Northern Storm in the harbour of Ystad 7 July 2021.

A survey vessel is any type of ship or boat that is used for mapping. It is a type of research vessel.


The task of survey vessels is to map the bottom, benthic zone, full water column, and surface for the purpose of:

  • hydrography
  • general oceanography
  • marine habitats
  • salvage
  • dredging
  • marine archaeology

Survey equipment

Typically, modern survey vessels are equipped with one or more of the following equipment:

  • GPS positioning and logging
  • single beam sonar
  • multibeam sonar
  • Side-scan sonar
  • towed magnetometer
  • subsurface profiler
  • grab sampler
  • bottom coring device
  • DCHP
  • Inertial Measurement Unit

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