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Why should I use a rope canister and what is it?

21 June 2021


So, you want to deploy your assets to the seabed, but don’t want to leave anything on the seabed post deployment? Then you need to make a rope canister or utilise Sonardyne’s rope canister. This article will explain what a rope canister is and why you might use one.

What’s the problem?

Typically when deploying assets to the seabed there are four main ways of recovering them:

  1. Weighing the assets down with a weight greater than their buoyancy, then using an acoustic release to release the buoyant assets to the surface whilst leaving environmentally friendly ballast on the seabed.
  2. Weighing the assets down with the minimum weight required to ensure no movement of the assets, and then using an acoustic release to release a pop up buoy to the surface which allows the weighed down seabed asset to be retrieved by hauling the rope.
  3. Deploying the asset to the seabed and recovering with an ROV or Divers.
  4. Deploying the asset to the seabed and having it permanently buoyed to the surface.

All of these above methods have benefits and negatives, but option number 2 has the least seabed footprint and few risks associated with it because:

  • No infrastructure is left on the seabed.
  • Costly ROVs/Divers are not required.
  • There is no buoy to the surface which could be dragged or interfered with.

As such lots of users will use rope canisters and pop up buoys, a typical configuration for deploying an ADCP is shown below.

Credit University of Hawaii

So I want to use a rope canister/pop up buoy, what options do I have?

  1. Make your own pop up buoy system.
  2. Use a Sonardyne provided pop up buoy/rope canister system.

Tell me more about Sonardyne and rope canisters with the RT 6-1000
Sonardyne’s rope canisters are designed to attach to the RT 6-1000 and come with configurable rope lengths and two 400m depth rated 3.5kg upthrust buoys.

What does a rope canister look like?

What’s in a rope canister kit?
A typical 70m kit looks as below, with two buoys, rope canister and rope.

What variants of rope canister kits are there?
Rope canister kits are available in 70m, 120m and 160m variants with different strain ratings depending on the rope thickness.

Why not check out our other article about our two recommended ways of using a rope canister? Or alternatively contact our support or sales teams to request a manual.


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