Survey and monitoring operations in intertidal areas have always represented a challenge. At best walking across tidal flats carrying heavy equipment can be hard, slow, dirty work –  at worst, soft mud and fast tides can make it a lethal business.

The Solution

However – a practical and cost-effective solution is finally available. In June this year, the regulations governing the use of small hovercraft for UK commercial operations were substantially revised, after UK manufacturers Flying Fish Hovercraft & Griffon Hoverwork spent two years working with the MCA to produce a ‘Hovercraft Code of Practice’ (HCoP).

This means that small hovercraft can be used in limited commercial operations without any requirement for coding, as long as it is built, equipped and operated in accordance with the HCoP. To that end, Flying Fish designed and produced a new model of hovercraft specifically aimed at intertidal marine work such as sampling, survey and ecological monitoring in environmentally sensitive areas such as estuaries, foreshores and mudflats.  

The MACV can travel over any surface. Any depth of water, mudflats and sand can be traversed in complete safety with up to 4 persons on board. Noise levels and economy are exceptional, and the MACV has zero environment impact as it exerts less pressure on the ground than 12″ of tide. Research as shown that birds are no more disturbed by the craft than any other vessel.  The speed of the MACV means that projects can be completed much more quickly and ‘between the tide’ times are extended without risk, saving time and money.

Cost Effective Rental

In response to adoption of the new code, Flying Fish have launched a new service ‘Coastal Transit Services’ to provide MACV craft and skippers on either long or short term hire anywhere in the UK or EU. Hire costs may vary based on location and length of deployment, but are quite modest in the region of £700.00/day including skipper and fuel  As manufacturers, CTS have full support and backup for their service, and skippers are all qualified to required standards as well as having a minimum of 5 years experience in small craft.

Recent work has been undertaken with a survey company on the tidal Thames, and a University in the west country with both organisations declaring themselves delighted with the comfort, safety and cost savings.

MACV’s are also available for sale to organisations with more regular work in intertidal areas. Built and equipped to MCA specification, together with manufacturers conformity statement from £25,000.00%20VAT.

For more details, visit www.coastaltransit.services or call us on (01304) 619820