Hydrographic Survey Ships
The RN has 3 ships that conduct hydrographic surveys of the ocean, the seabed and coastal features. The data they collect is used to produce the Admiralty charts issued by the UK Hydrographic office which are sold to mariners worldwide.
The RN has experience of charting the oceans going back centuries. Having accurate navigational information is a foundation of safe and successful naval operations. HMS Scott, Echo and Enterprise are equipped with sidescan sonars that can map large areas of the seabed as well as equipment for collecting bathymetric data about the salinity and sound profile of the ocean. Temperature and salinity layers in the sea affect the operation of sonar so this information is very useful for submariners and in anti-submarine operations. The survey vessels also carry light weapons and have a secondary role as patrol and surveillance assets. HMS Gleaner, a survey motor launch is the RN’s smallest vessel used for inshore coastal survey work.