The C-Tecnics pan and tilt camera is almost 20 years old and has just surfaced after completing another successful season clamped to one of the piles under Swanage Pier.
Its real-time output to the internet and to screens on the pier were initially considered to be of novelty value only, but with the proven reliability of the unit and the fact that the output covers all daylight hours, the unit is now being treated as a biological monitor and “site assessment tool” (the amateur diver in the Midlands is now checking underwater visibility on the South Coast before committing to the journey!).
The C-Tecnics lights were removed after the first year so as to provide genuine habitat conditions; with the low light capability of the unit dawn-till-dusk service is still provided.
The camera is installed by the Isle of Purbeck Sub-Aqua Club in April each year and is expected to run without maintenance until its removal at the year end. Mechanically and electronically the C-Tecnics unit has undoubtedly met the requirement however but we are still awaiting a solution to ensure the glass lens cover remains clear of marine growth.
The camera originally belonged to Dorset Wildlife Trust who donated the unit and controls as part of their contribution along with funding from the “Dorset Biodiversity Partnership”.
The harsh operational environment of the North Sea is well recognised by all equipments manufacturers but sometimes relatively benign conditions can be more of a challenge when the operational requirement is measured in months of continuous use rather than just a single shift ROV or diver deployment of a few hours.
Retirement comes to us all and a decision has now been made to replace the unit with a portable C-Tecnics system.
It is envisaged that remote monitoring of sub-sea structures such as Wind farms and other inshore and offshore facilities from shore side and will make use of this proven longevity of C-Tecnics video systems.