Survey Vessels

Ecospan has a number of well-equipped survey vessels some of which are available for hire with a skipper to external organisations. Alternatively, we are more than willing to act as a sub-contractor for any specialised sampling programmes.

RV Coastal Surveyor

Coastal Surveyor is a well-equipped, 7.9 m twin engine Sea Cheetah catamaran. It is an MCA category 3 workboat licensed for 6 people which is capable of working in coastal areas up to 20 miles from a safe haven. Due to its very low draft, it is also suitable for estuarine and inshore work. The vessel is easily towed by our Landrover and is regularly deployed all over the UK. Typical uses include hydrographic work (e.g. ADCP, bathymetric surveys and dye studies), ecological investigations (e.g. sediment sampling using day grabs) and diving surveys. It is also occasionally used in support of our hovercrafting operations when required.


  • LOA 7.9m (26ft)
  • Beam 2.7 m
  • Draft 0.4 m
  • Weight 2.0 tonnes
  • Cruising speed 19 knots
  • Max speed 26 knots
  • Engines: 2X Honda BF90hp 4 stroke
  • Fuel capacity 180L

Standard equipment

  • Hemisphere Vector DGPS
  • Simrad GPS and plotter
  • Simrad Radar
  • Simrad structure scan and CHIRP
  • Seapro navigation software
  • AIS
  • Deck and search lights
  • 13 hp hydraulic powerpack
  • Spencer Carter winch and davit
  • Deckwash
  • 12 V and 240 V electrical systems
  • All safety equipment as required by the MCA

Additional equipment

  • R2Sonic 2020 multi-beam echo-sounder including backscatter and water column.
  • ADCP
  • Sonarmite single beam high frequency echo-sounder
  • Aquatracker
  • Van Veen grab (0.1m 2 , 0.05 m 2 or 0.1m 2 )
  • Water samplers (bailers, NIO bottles etc)
  • Day grab


Ecospan Environmental Ltd operates a BBV4 four man 4.9 m hovercraft which was specifically purchased and fitted out for undertaking inter-tidal surveys over mud flats. We also hire the hovercraft with an experienced pilot.

The hovercraft is powered by 4 stroke engines that make it dramatically quieter than 2 stoke craft and have significantly improved fuel efficiency. The craft is fully certified by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. There are large advantages to using the hovercraft for certain types of survey, these include:

  • Elimination of most of the major safety concerns associated with working in such environments.
  • Unique design facilitates sampling without leaving the safety of the cockpit.
  • Drastically reduces sampling time enabling many more samples to be taken over large distances.
  • Can safely and efficiently cover large areas of mudflat and sandflat and access areas in which safety considerations would otherwise limit or prohibit access.
  • Given that the craft rides upon a cushion of air, disturbance to littoral sediment habitats is minimised. Tracks are usually not visible after one tide.

Rigid Hulled Inflatable (RIB)

Pagrus is a well-equipped 6.5 m, twin engine, MCA category 3 workboat licensed for 6 people. It is capable of working up to 20 miles from a safe haven as well as being suitable for estuary or river work. The vessel is easily towed by our 4 x 4 van enabling its use anywhere around the UK or Europe. Pagrus also has 2 VHF radios, a Simrad CE33 dGPS chart plotter (which can be linked to PC plotting software), a dual frequency colour echosounder and a fluxgate compass. It can be fitted with a variety of other specialised equipment and survey instrumentation (e.g. ADCP) and is used extensively for hydrographic work, ecological survey work and as a support vessel for diving and hovercraft operations.

Zodiac Inflatable

Inshore Surveyor is a 5.5 m inflatable Zodiac that is MCA category 4 licenced (10 miles from the shore in daylight) for 6 people. The Zodiac is used for a wide range of projects usually in estuaries, harbours and on inland lakes and small rivers. It is powered by a Yamaha 25 which provides a top speed of 20 knots.

The standard equipment on the vessel includes a DGPS colour plotter, echosounder and VHF radio. Coastal Surveyor can also be fitted with a variety of other specialised equipment and survey instrumentation such as RTK positioning, a single beam survey echosounder etc.