Seeing your way through shoal waters

FarSounder, Inc., of Providence, Rhode Island, is bringing to market a breakthrough in marine navigation. Its system delivers critical information by giving mariners the ability to "see-ahead" underwater, in true 3-D, with simultaneous range, bearing and depth information.

The technology is based on research begun at the University of Rhode Island's Department of Ocean Engineering and Ocean Technology Center with assistance from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. Over the last six years, the principals have been developing and testing the technology towards creating a range of navigational sonar systems. FarSounder was incorporated in 2001 to bring to market this new technology which makes it possible to image rocks, sea floors, whales and other in-water obstacles similar to the way that radar detects obstacles above water. The company is now introducing the FS-3, its first commercialized product. Although forward-looking sonars exist in various forms, they generally have very limited range in shallow water, the time when a vessel's captain is in greatest need of an accurate, real-time picture of the obstacles and water depths ahead of him. The FS-3 system seeks to solve this problem.

FarSounder has recently signed a contract with the ownership of Project Falcon to supply the FS-3DT system for a 220-foot (67.1m) yacht currently under construction at Lürssen Shipyard in Rendsburg, Germany.

"Both the owner of the yacht and the Project Manager, Captain Kyle Fultz, recognize the advantage that this advanced technology will bring to the operation and navigation capability of the yacht," said FarSounder Chief Executive Officer, Cheryl M. Zimmerman.

Last November, FarSounder signed a contract with Royal Dockyard Limited (DML) in Plymouth, England, to supply an FS-3DT on the 253-foot (77m) five-decked superyacht, code named Project Lana, during its final stage of construction.