Rigid-Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) Based Pinger Deployment System

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Project Type: 

Students Involved:

Michael Martinelli University of New Hampshire
Fernando Vazquez University of New Hampshire
Evin Williams University of New Hampshire
Laura Woodbury University of New Hampshire

Faculty Advisors:

Thomas Weber UNH - Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Whale tracking using acoustic transducers and hydrophone receivers is conducted by many researchers in order to study the habits and patterns of whales in and around Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, located in Scituate, Massachusetts. In the following report, the design criteria for a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) pinger mounting system are discussed, along with the final design and accompanying testing and analysis. The system required redesign because of its awkward state, large footprint on such a small RHIB, and many other inconveniences. A rigid transom-mounting design was built to prevent the problems incurred by the original design. Observations regarding the RHIB, larger loading boat, and pinger deployment were recorded in Scituate, Massachusetts prior to the final design and build, and field testing was conducted in Plymouth, Massachusetts using one of Stellwagen Bank’s RHIBs. One system was constructed for each of the three RHIBs, in order to facilitate the following and tracking of whale patterns via triangulation.

The newly designed mounting system significantly improved the functionality of the system, and is capable of sending accurate acoustic signals from a distance and while in motion, which the previous systems could not do. It is believed this system will advance whale tracking techniques for the researchers at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.


Available from the National Sea Grant Library (use NHU number to search) or NH Sea Grant


  • Rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) based pinger deployment system (2008). Michael Martinelli, Fernando Vazquez, Evin Williams and Laura Woodbury. Advisor: Tom Weber.