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Digital Under Keel Clearance service undergoes testing

The service displays ‘no-go zones’ in red, to mark areas where it is unsafe to navigate The service displays ‘no-go zones’ in red, to mark areas where it is unsafe to navigate

The Efficiensea 2 project has begun tests of a new digital ‘Under Keel Clearance Service’ to support mariners in assessing the impact of tidal levels and weather on passage plans that include shallow water.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The service will initially cover the Sound between Sweden and Denmark during testing, but could potentially be adjusted to include other parts of the Baltic Sea and further areas across the world, the project says.

Mariners generally have to manually determine the best time to sail through shallow areas, taking tidal levels, weather and the vessel’s under keel clearance into consideration. The digital test service combines bathymetry data, constantly updated tidal tables and weather reports to show ‘comfort zones’ and ‘no-go areas’ for vessels with different draughts, to remove some of these manual processes.

The service can be accessed on both computers and tablets by those with a login to the web platform BalticWeb, where the relevant data is added as another layer on the platform’s nautical charts showing where it is unsafe to sail.

“It is all about making life more efficient for the navigator so that he or she can focus on manoeuvring the vessel,” said Christopher Saarnak, project leader for EfficienSea2 and chief adviser at the Danish Maritime Authority.

“Rather than asking them to combine data from sea charts, tidal tables, weather forecasts and the vessel’s draught, all while navigating the ship, our service would offer a way to do it automatically. In the end, it could free up valuable time for the crew.”

“The future perspectives for this kind of service are great. The better the data becomes, the less stress will be put on the navigators when sailing. This kind of service will also need to be thoroughly implemented if autonomous ships are ever to truly take off, and we are happy to help them do so.”

The data for the service is provided by the Danish Meteorological Institute, the Danish Geodata Agency and the Swedish Maritime Administration.{/mprestriction}

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