A wharf is a structure on the shore of a harbour or on the bank of a river or canal where ships may dock to load and unload cargo or passengers. It is recommended that inspections be undertaken at least every 2 years for urban wharves and every 3 to 5 years for regional wharves. These inspections are crucial too ensure that the structural integrity of the wharf is maintained. The steel piles supporting the structure will corrode over time so it is important that they are surveyed so that we know which piles need to be replaced.
Our groups approach to this problem is a quite simple solution – using technology instead of people to inspect the wharfs in crocodile infested waters.
Underwater Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV), sometimes known as underwater drones, are any vehicles that can operate underwater without a human occupant and are instead controlled from land or ship. ROVs are commonly used in oceanic research, for purposes such as current and temperature measurement, ocean floor mapping, and Hydrothermal vent detection.
If fitted with an Ultrasonic Distance Measurer (UDM), the ROV would have the ability to measure the width of the piles underneath the wharf. This would eliminate the need to send people underwater to inspect wharves meaning that no one would be put in danger.
Self-propelled shark cage:
The Self Propelled Ocean Cage (SPOC) is an experimental self-propelled cage for divers to get up close and personal with sharks. If someone must be sent underwater to inspect or repair the wharf, this technology will enable people to easily fix and/or replace anything that is broken while also protecting from the crocodiles.
Satellite tracking tags send a signal every time the shark’s fin breaks the waters’ surface and the transmitter can send the data straight to the satellite receiver. These tags are attached to the dorsal fin of a shark while the shark is held beside the boat. The shark can be followed for the life of the tag battery. A similar chip to the ones that are used to track sharks could be used to track crocodiles in the area. If a crocodile is approaching the tracking chip will send a signal alerting anyone that happens to be in the water if a crocodile is near by.