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Sidescan Sonar Survey & Consulting

sidescan side scan sonar submerged vehicle car automobile auto resource recovery salvage missing underwater river lake ocean reservoir
Submerged Car
Sunken Jet boat

Side scan sonar is a carefully engineered sonar designed to look sideways and at a downward angle from both sides of a towed unit, called a "towfish". The bottom and any objects in the water above the bottom reflect sound waves back to the towed array and from this information an image is produced. Using this type of system, very large areas of the seafloor or lake bed can be mapped quickly and easily, saving time and the expensive labor costs of diver run searches. This method also provides the greatest chance of success in search operations by assuring complete bottom coverage.


The best way to "see" underwater is with sound. Underwater, light is scattered relatively quickly. Depending upon water conditions, at times even the brightest lights provide a diver (or camera) with only a few feet, or less, of visibility. Imagine trying to see across a room filled with thick heavy smoke. Bright lights become useless. But SOUND would travel well in this environment and travels extremely efficiently through water.

Sidescan sonar side scan image of B-29 bomber in Lake Mead Nevada underwater survey marine science technical diving In Depth Consulting
Sidescan sonar side scan sonar image underwater submerged Lake Mead Hoover Dam reservoir batch plant Nevada Las Vegas underwater archaeology scuba diving dive Colorado river
Side scan sidescan sonar image of jetboat sunk in Lake Mead reservoir bottom survey InDepth Consulting gregg Mikolasek marine scuba diving diver salvage undersea exploration remote sensing
Submerged Batch Mix Plant
Sunken B-29 Superfortress Bomber

OK, So why Sidescan??


Depth sounders and fish finding sonars have been used for years with good success. These sonars look down through the water and can display bottom relief, but can only image what they pass directly over


Sidescan, meanwhile, scans an area with a width up to hundreds of feet on either side of the ‘towfish’.  So it is a matter of coverage, as seen in the example image below. The left side is a 'fishfinder' view, clearly showing some type of raised structure which the vessel has passed directly over. On the right is a ‘side image’ of the same area, showing an accurate image of the complex bottom structure.

How can sidescan benefit you?

Nearly everyday, something is lost underwater. Whether it is an automobile, boat, cargo from a barge, personal valuables, barrels containing hazardous waste or a drowning victim, items are lost for which there is a need for recovery efforts. Likewise, underwater surveys are necessary in harbors, lakes, rivers, along beaches, just about anywhere where any kind of construction or work is planned.

In Depth contracts equipment plus operator to conduct side scan sonar searches / surveys and subsequent data analysis. We are able to provide your organization with whatever degree of service you may require, from simply obtaining data, to complete analysis and subsequent underwater inspection.

Whether you are dealing with a lost object, or for any reason require an accurate bottom survey, side scan is an economical and comprehensive method to utilize. Contact us to discuss your project or special need and we'll put the power of side scan sonar imaging to work for you.

Building foundation at the bottom of a reservoir

Sidescan Sonar Image

Sukhbaatar II Shipwreck

Lake Khövsgöl, Mongolia

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