Tag: mooring

How to avoid wuzzles when recovering oceanographic moorings

It was Christmas time, but I didn’t expect to get a haircut as a present. On this particular holiday, one of my young son’s presents was a small automatic flying drone. It was a seemingly harmless small toy that merely hovers and slowly drifts around indoors automatically, without the need for a pilot. But sometimes, it would change direction quickly and catch us off guard. It bumped into my head within less than 5 minutes, and the propellers snarled into my hair. It took a lot of working on getting it unwound and even a few snips to get it free. It was a tangled mess!

Nobody likes to deal with a tangled mess, so if you can avoid one entirely, so much the better. When it comes to oceanographic mooring recovery, there is a considerable risk for the entanglement of the line. When the line forms one of these giant tangles (also known as wuzzles!), it can take a lot of time to sort out and even damage equipment. But with the right precautions, it’s possible to avoid a wuzzle altogether.

Getting a small flying drone tangled in your hair is a serious tangled mess. It pays to avoid problems like this!

So what exactly is a wuzzle?

Strange as it might seem, wuzzle is an actual term to describe a tangled mess in a line. Why does this happen? If a mooring line loses tension and has a chance to bunch up in an area, it may drift into a convoluted mess. When there is low line tension, the residual twist can easily throw the system into a tangle.

During mooring recovery, there’s ample risk for a wuzzle

This is because there is both low line tension and the opportunity for the mooring line to bunch up. There’s a strong chance of this if you’re working with a mooring recovered using an acoustic release.

A wuzzle in an oceanographic mooring is also a series tangled mess. Picture credit: Danny McLaughlan, courtesy of CSIRO/IMOS

An acoustic release facilitates mooring recovery

An acoustic release is fired when a unique coded signal is transmitted. The result is the device opens a mechanical connection on the mooring line. Acoustic releases are usually placed near the anchor along with a significant amount of flotation.

It’s this significant flotation that brings the tail end of the mooring up to the water surface. The problem is when the tail end catches up to the top float or surface buoy. In the worst-case scenario, the entire mooring can be bunched up in one location in a low tension state. It’s a wuzzle in waiting, and unless you take action, it’s going to be the biggest headache of your life to untangle.

How can you avoid a wuzzle on oceanographic mooring recovery?

You can reduce the risk of a wuzzle with careful observation and operations management. The recovery vessel needs to have a rough idea of the ocean currents at the time, so they expect where the mooring and ship will drift through the process. Typically, the recovery crew can get a location fix of the acoustic release, so they know a safe distance to wait.

However, the recovery vessel may attach a towline for a surface buoy and start pulling gently on the buoy laterally before even firing the release. For subsurface moorings, the recovery crew is on the lookout for the top buoy to reach the surface first. Once they see it, they’ll steam over in the recovery vessel and attach a tow line. Either way, the key is for the recovery vessel to pull the surface buoy or top float away from where the tail end of the mooring is expected to come up. It keeps the mooring from pooling up and reduces the chances of a tangled mess.

How do you know how much time you have before the acoustic release reaches the surface?

There are a few ways to anticipate this. The easiest way is to keep acoustically pinging the release as it rises through the water column. A fix on the release tells you how fast it is rising in real-time. But it’s also possible to complete a recovery analysis in a software tool like ProteusDS Oceanographic. Depending on how much flotation and the line properties you use in your mooring, you can get an idea of how much time you might expect to see it reach the surface.

Snapshot from mid-simulation of mooring recovery. The acoustic release has already been fired and the flotation pack is bringing that end of the mooring to the surface at A. The primary buoy is already at the surface at B.

Summary

When it comes to entanglement, the best approach is prevention. When my son wants to bring out his automatic drone, I now keep a safe distance. I am also considering wearing a hat, and possibly just going into another room altogether. When it comes to oceanographic mooring recovery, prevention is key as well through ship operations.

Next step

Read more on tools for oceanographic mooring design with ProteusDS Oceanographic here.

Thanks to WHOI and CSIRO

Thanks to engineer Don Peters at WHOI for the discussion and feedback on the article topic and also to CSIRO/IMOS for the use of the image.

What to keep an eye on during oceanographic mooring deployment

The longest continuously running experiment started in 1930 and is still going right now. The Pitch Drop Experiment looks like an hourglass filled with a thick, black substance called pitch. Pitch is a resin that is so thick it looks and acts like a solid. It is so much like a solid that it can even shatter into small bits. But despite all this, it will indeed flow over time as a liquid. In fact, it flows so painfully slow that it takes about ten years to form and separate a drop! In the Pitch Drop Experiment, because things move so slowly, there isn’t a need to constantly keep a close eye on things.

On the other hand, you need to keep a close eye on things when there are rapid changes in a system. Rapid changes mean it is easy to miss important information that may affect a design. When it comes to deploying oceanographic moorings, it may seem painfully slow for a mooring to settle in deep water. But don’t be fooled by the time it takes to settle because several rapid changes happen to the mooring and its components that can affect the design. This article will cover an anchor-last deployment’s characteristics that you may want to look at closely.

What we’re going to cover is:

1) peak load during deployment

2) lateral deflection

3) acoustic release effects

First, we’re going to cover the peak load during deployment.

Professor John Mainstone was the custodian of the Pitch Drop Experiment for 52 years. Picture credit: University of Queensland

You might expect a mooring’s maximum loads to appear during an extreme storm

But that’s not always necessarily the case. There can be significant loads during deployment, too. Many moorings are deployed anchor-last, with the top float and mooring strung out along the water surface and the anchor released in the final step for deployment.

Because the anchors tend to be so heavy and with nothing to support it the moment they are dropped from the ship, there can be a sizeable local load on the mooring. This instant of time can be when mooring tension may reach a local maximum. At the very least, the mooring anchor assembly, including acoustic release, may see a load close to the anchor’s full weight at that moment.

The anchor-end of the mooring then accelerates down into the water

As the mooring is pulled into the water, drag relieves the abrupt initial accelerations and resulting loads from the anchor’s free fall. Drag forces on the mooring mean the anchor will descend steadily to the seabed. As mooring flotation is submerged, the descent rate may further slow.

Once the anchor lands on the seabed, the soil will then support the anchor’s weight and further reduce this significant load on the lower portion of the mooring. Either way, the peak deployment load may be between dropping the anchor from the ship and the anchor landing on the seabed. But checking loads during the anchor’s initial descent is not the only thing to take a closer look at during a mooring deployment. This brings us to the next point on the lateral deflection of the mooring.

This snapshot from ProteusDS Oceanographic shows the SOFS5 mooring during anchor-last deployment. After the anchor (A) is dropped, the mooring is pulled down toward the seabed. The buoy (B) stays at the surface for some time and travels horizontally during the transition

Anchors can be so heavy that it seems unlikely they would drift sideways in free fall

There is a lot of concentrated weight in the anchor, and it is hard to imagine it budging much while in free fall. But don’t underestimate the relentless pull from the mooring on the anchor. While the anchor descends and more of the line submerges, there is a reaction load from the mooring. This builds with time. The greater the descent time, the more this acts on the anchor and steers it laterally.

By the time the anchor rests on the seabed, the anchor’s lateral fallback could be ten percent of the water depth for a surface mooring (but less for a subsurface mooring). This is assuming no ocean currents are present. But if there are currents, it can add an interesting wrinkle to the problem. Any prevailing current profile can introduce additional drag loads on the mooring and cause even more lateral movement. You have to be aware of these lateral deflections because it will tell you how far off your intended placement you may be. It all depends on the specifics of the mooring, of course.

However, once the anchor hits the seabed, there’s ideally enough holding capacity to resist lateral loads on the mooring system from any prevailing currents. You may think deployment dynamics are over once the anchor lands, but there’s one more critical stage to check. This brings us to the last point on the effects of the acoustic release.

Everything that moves has momentum

The entire mooring has built up momentum as it descends through the water. After the anchor impacts the seabed, it will take time for the mooring to slow down. The time it takes to slow down and the distance the mooring covers in this time are critical to the acoustic release. It is not a lot of distance, but it’s not zero.

The acoustic release must not impact the anchor assembly or the seabed

If the acoustic release hits the seabed, there’s a chance it can get damaged. If it’s damaged, the release may not work, making mooring recovery extremely difficult or impossible. But clearing the seabed is only half the battle.

When the mooring has slowed down and stopped, and ideally, the acoustic release is still clear of the bottom, the flotation will pull up the lower portion of the mooring back up. This snapback is also not a very large distance, but it’s not the distance that’s important.

The snapback load can cause a problem, too

There’s typically only a short line between the acoustic release and the anchor. If this line is a stiff material like chain, there isn’t a lot of compliance. This means the snapback forces can be very high. If the snapback load is high, it means there’s a chance it can damage components, including the acoustic release – again risking the ability to release and recover the mooring.

What’s vital here is introducing a line with a bit of elastic compliance in the material. It doesn’t need to be a bungee rope – but something a bit softer than chain will reduce the snapback loads significantly and protect the acoustic release. The SOFS5 mooring uses 20 meters of Nystron rope between the acoustic release and the anchor to absorb the snap back load that results from 40 glass floats just about the acoustic release.

Detail on the anchor assembly of the SOFS5 mooring that includes Nystron rope to absorb deployment snapback load

But how can you quantify these loads?

Experience, rules of thumb, and design practices can help a lot to refine mooring designs. This kind of experience is valuable and always plays a vital role in mooring design. But complementing this kind of experience are dynamic analysis software tools like ProteusDS Oceanographic. It’s often worth ensuring there are no surprises or failures in components due to these loads as the system goes through the deployment process.

How to set up anchor-last deployment analysis in ProteusDS Oceanographic

It’s possible to set up an anchor-last deployment scenario in ProteusDS Oceanographic. This can help provide insight into some of the dynamic effects you might see during deployment. Check out the video tutorial below that shows how to set up the scenario.

It’s summary time

There are crucial operational and design aspects introduced by mooring installation and anchor descent to the seabed. You may see considerable tensions during initial anchor release and from snapback after the anchor lands on the seabed. Operationally, the lateral drift of the mooring is critical to understand where the anchor will actually land. You should check the acoustic release clearance from the seabed, too, and be aware of snapback loads because you’re in for big headaches on mooring recovery if it gets damaged.

A full ocean depth mooring might take a while to descend to the seabed fully. But at least it will take a lot less than ten years like it does for a drop to fall in the Pitch Drop experiment!

Thanks

Thanks to Brian Hogue at the WHOI FIXIT Lab for providing feedback and discussion on the article.

PS

The Pitch Drop Experiment has a live webcam feed. Keep a close eye on the experiment in progress here.

 

 

 

How the anchor-last oceanographic mooring deployment process works

The first time I started running for exercise, it was a disaster. It was a disaster because there are pitfalls that aren’t obvious to people who are new to running. My problem was I just jumped right in without a detailed plan. I had a general idea that I needed to build up distance slowly. But that wasn’t specific enough, and I ended up with painful shin splints that stopped me in my tracks.

It was over a year before I started training again. Before starting the second time around, I learned a lot more about preventing injuries like this and, more specifically, how to increase mileage slowly. Before starting the second time around, I had a much more detailed process in place.

A detailed process lays out the steps you need to take to move forward. Whether you realize it or not, it helps you avoid problems that may or may not be obvious. When it comes to deploying oceanographic moorings, there is no shortage of challenges, especially when working with longer systems. The longer the mooring, the greater the risk of entanglement and damage to the components. We’re going to talk about the key steps in a process involved in a common way to deploy long oceanographic moorings: anchor-last.

You need a process when running, especially when starting for the first time, to avoid injuries like shin splints

What is anchor-last deployment?

Anchor-last deployment is a process in which the assembled mooring is laid out on the water surface, starting with the top float or surface buoy. The anchor assembly is then connected and dropped as the final step in the deployment of the mooring.

Anchor-last is by far the most common way to deploy moorings for a few key reasons. Following this process makes it possible to keep the mooring aligned and prevent any loops or snags from forming that can cause severe damage before the mooring is even in place. It also provides some easy control over the deployment location – that is to say, where the anchor lands on the seabed. Finally, the cost of a mooring deployment is affected by the size of the vessel you need to deploy the mooring. The nice thing about anchor-last deployments is that vessel requirements are typically the minimum possible.

How are moorings actually deployed anchor-last?

We’ve talked about anchor-last deployment in broad strokes, but now it’s time to dig into the details a little for clarification. Before anything is even put in the water, the ship needs a proper starting position.

The ship needs to advance slowly toward the deployment location. There needs to be enough distance such that at the ship’s forward speed, there is enough time to comfortably assemble the mooring and string it out on the water behind the vessel. Depending on the water depth and length of the mooring involved, the ship may start several kilometers from the deployment location!

Next, we get to the first stages of putting equipment in the water

The top float or surface buoy is prepared and connected to a short section of the upper mooring. What’s vital here is that the lower portion of the mooring is also tied off on the ship’s deck. Mooring wire may be spooled on a winch or laid out in segments on the deck. Segments may be tied off on the deck with the integrated sling or pear links in the mooring.

A crane or A-frame is then used to hoist the buoy off the deck and into the water. The buoy may be one of the heaviest components in the mooring, and the crane or A-frame needed to hoist the buoy may be one of the essential requirements for vessel size.

Now the assembly of the mooring begins

As the ship continues forward at a slow pace, the buoy is towed behind the vessel. Because the mooring is tied off on the deck with a sling link, additional modular segments of the mooring can be easily laid out on the deck, along with assembled instruments and connected when ready.

The ship’s deck length limits how long these mooring segments can be, which may be an essential factor in the mooring design. Nevertheless, as each section of the mooring is attached, it is then deployed into the water. Gradually, the mooring is assembled and strung out and towed behind the ship.

The final stages involve the anchor assembly. For deepwater moorings, it’s common to use a glass float cluster and acoustic release along with the anchor. Once these are in place, the anchor assembly is prepared. Either a crane drops the anchor or a skid plate slides the anchor assembly into the water. Once the anchor assembly is in the water, the final stage of deployment begins.

1) Buoy is deployed 2) mooring is assembled and spooled out behind the ship 3) Anchor assembly prepared 4) anchor released. Image courtesy of J. Doucette © WHOI

What happens after the anchor is dropped?

Even though oceanographic moorings can be completely different, there are still a few typical dynamic stages the mooring goes through once the anchor is dropped.

After the anchor is dropped, it begins its descent to the seabed. A subsurface mooring will often reach a constant descent rate – its terminal velocity – once the mooring is totally submerged. But a surface mooring will always have a varying descent rate because of the effect of drag on the mooring.

Eventually, the anchor will land on the seabed. There is some settling, including a bit of overshoot, as the entire mooring slows down and the flotation pulls it taut to its expected static tension.

This snapshot from a ProteusDS Oceanographic analysis shows a surface mooring in the middle of an anchor-last deployment. The anchor (A) moves vertically downward to the seabed, while the buoy (B) stays at the surface and travels horizontally during this transition.

Why isn’t anchor-last deployment used everywhere?

There aren’t many different ways to deploy moorings. But in some cases, anchor last deployments just can’t be used. For moorings deployed in ice-covered seas, an anchor-first process has to be used. In an anchor-first process, the ship crane supports the entire anchor and mooring weight as the system is deployed through a small hole cut in the ice. As you can imagine, there’s no room to lay out the mooring on the water and steam an icebreaker to the deployment location in these circumstances!

In summary

The anchor-last process is used widespread for longer moorings. Typically, a ship will slowly advance toward the final deployment location. This allows the mooring to be assembled and strung out behind the deployment vessel to prevent any snags. The last step is dropping the anchor near its installation point.

Many new runners may jump right into the sport and end up with injuries without training that follows a tried and true process. Likewise, anchor-last deployment is a tried and true process for oceanographic moorings. There are always many details and specifics that arise with different mooring designs and lengths, but many fundamental steps follow this anchor-last deployment process.

Next step

We covered what the anchor-last process looks like. But what about specific details to look closely at during the deployment process? Read more to learn about specific effects to look out for during deployment here.

Thanks to WHOI

Thanks to Rick Trask at WHOI for sharing technical pointers and details on the anchor-last deployment process.

What the playground can teach us about resonance in dynamics

Kids are always happy to visit a playground. When my son turned three, the swings became one of his favourites. He always wanted to go higher and higher. At that age, he hadn’t quite figured out how to swing by himself yet, though, and needed a push to keep going. Fortunately for me, swings only need a little effort and get a significant response. In this way, swings can teach us a lot about dynamics, and in particular, resonance.

The key to resonance is that a little effort can mean a big response. Knowing how resonance works is essential because it can make or break your system. So what is resonance?

Small kids need a push to get going on the swings. Fortunately, resonance helps out here, as small pushes over time lead to large motions. And happy children!

Resonance is a large response to a small disturbance

In mechanical systems, a large response might mean large amplitudes of motion. The thing about resonance is that it is often inherently a vibration. So these large responses are in some way an oscillation – and that means the external disturbances also need to be an oscillation as well.

So how does resonance work? Resonance can only occur when a system has some form of inertia as well as a restoring effect. This means a physical mass to provide inertia. The restoring effect is any kind of force that acts to bring this mass back into an equilibrium position. The specific combination of inertia and a restoring force produces a natural frequency. This natural frequency appears when the mechanical system is in motion without any dominating external force. It’s when external forces, even tiny ones, come into play at a rate around the natural frequency that you get resonance.

The swings are a perfect example of resonance

In this case, my son provides most of the inertia. Gravity provides the restoring effect that always tries to bring the swing back into its center position. Now all I need to do is give a little push at the right moment, and with this bit of effort, after a little while, he is soaring up high into the sky (and typically demanding to go higher).

Another example of resonance is ship motion response

Often, the roll response of a ship can be a problem. All ships have a certain amount of inertia to them. Depending on the loadout and shape of the hull, the ship will have a certain amount of restoring effect in roll, too. The problem with resonance, in this case, is when the frequency of ocean waves line up with the natural frequency of a ship in roll – and then you get roll resonance.

This can create extensive roll motions or large roll accelerations – causing people to get seasick, fall over, get hurt, or damage equipment on the ship. The MCS Zoe lost 350 shipping containers in a rare storm that was partially attributed to roll resonance. So keeping an eye on ship motions and how big these motions get is a big concern in ship seakeeping analysis.

The MCS Zoe lost 350 shipping containers during a rare storm that resulted in roll resonance. Picture credit – Hummelhummel, Wikipedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 3.0

Is resonance always a problem?

Resonance can be good and bad. A lot of engineering systems rely on resonance to work correctly. But resonance can also spell disaster. If minor disturbances create significant effects, there will be countless opportunities to make large forces and motions and damage equipment or get someone hurt.

Damping can drastically reduce the resonant response. Back to the swing set at the playground, there is only a bit of air drag slowing things down. So it tends to be an excellent example of how little effort can lead to a big response. That little effort, such as a helpful push from a parent, needs to be periodic and applied at just the right time, though.

Back in the marine world, there are examples of significant damping in ship motion, too. For many ships, wave radiation considerably damps pitch motion. As a result, resonance is not always a big concern for ship motions in pitch. Regardless, carefully understanding when and how a system might reach resonance is essential.

Can you always figure out resonance?

The more complex the system, the more difficult it is to figure out how resonance works and whether it is a problem. In ship seakeeping analysis, it helps to have a specific software tool that takes all the details of a ship, including the hull shape and inertia, to establish just how the system will move – and possibly resonate – in different sea conditions.

Summarizing

Resonance is when small disturbances lead to a large response. In mechanical systems, it’s a vibration effect, and so you can’t get resonance without some kind of inertia and a restoring force. Resonance is a good thing in the playground as it helps me keep my son happy without a lot of effort. But it can lead to disaster and damaged equipment if you don’t keep an eye on it.

Next step

In one of the examples, we covered how resonance is a dangerous condition that can show up in ship motions. A seakeeping analysis is what helps understand just what kind of ship motion will occur in different sea states, and if resonance is a concern too. Read more on what seakeeping analysis is all about here.

 

When wave steepness pinpoints worst case sea states for mooring design (and not wave height)

Vintage wind-up toys may seem simple, but they are mechanical marvels. Many intricate details turn a compressed spring into something like a walking robot. But while these designs are clever, they have their limits. For example, nothing stops them from tumbling off the edge of a table or down the stairs – they wander entirely aimlessly.

Wandering aimlessly is not exclusive to wind-up toys. In the early stage of any design, you may find yourself wandering between the many factors to consider. Finding ways to zero in on key design conditions saves a lot of time. In the case of mooring design, there may be a wide range of sea states the system needs to withstand. In this article, we’ll talk about how wave steepness helps pinpoint the worst-case sea states you may want to check first in a mooring design process.

Wind-up toys wander aimlessly, even off the edge of a table.

When we talk about sea states, the wave height quickly comes up

It’s no wonder, either, as typically it’s what we think of when we look at pictures of the sea. After all, the wave height is the vertical distance from the trough to the crest, so it is often a visual cue that hints at how severe a sea state actually is. It is one of the most essential and fundamental parameters of ocean waves.

Another critical parameter is the wavelength. The wavelength is the horizontal spacing between successive wave crests. Now, both wavelength and height are a part of wave steepness, which is the ratio of wave height to the wavelength. So a high wave with a short wavelength means a really steep wave. So why is wave steepness useful?

Irregular ocean waves

The ratio of the wave height to wavelength – the steepness – is often what can give you a hint at how really severe a sea state is for design and analysis

Wave steepness gives hints about what the resulting forces may be like

Waves with low steepness are often not very exciting: they don’t typically cause rapid changes in loads like buoyancy, drag, or wave excitation forces on a floating system.

On the other hand, waves with high steepness can cause all kinds of problems. High steepness often means rapid changes in buoyancy, drag, and wave excitation. These can mean large accelerations and forces in a floating system. If there are large forces, it can mean significant stresses in the hull or mooring system and the risk of structural failures.

Wave steepness can act as a filter

When there are so many sea states to consider for a specific project, it’s helpful to pinpoint conditions that may cause a problem in the design. You can save a lot of time in the design phase by considering the harshest sea states first – because the mooring will surely survive more benign conditions. The sea states with the steepest waves are likely to be the most problematic conditions. In this way, considering steepness then acts as a filtering mechanism. You can spend less time looking through a wide range of conditions that are possible and zero in on what specific sea states may drive your mooring design.

Checking wave steepness is also important because you might miss the worst-case scenario. It’s definitely a mistake to zero in on the maximum wave height without checking wave steepness. Often, sea states with the maximum wave height can cause the biggest loads in a mooring system. But this is not always the case.

It’s possible at a certain location that the maximum wave steepness comes up in lower wave heights that happen to have much shorter wavelengths. Without considering steepness, you might miss this by initially zeroing in on only the maximum wave height.

You also need to be thorough when looking at wave steepness. Remember that wave steepness changes with both wave height and wavelength. Beware that there may be more than one set of sea state conditions that give large wave steepness depending on the wave climate at a specific location.

But wave steepness is not a perfect filter

Remember that wave steepness is a ratio – and a ratio that may mislead you in some cases. For example, you may have relatively small wave heights from wind chop – but if the wavelengths are small too, it might result in a large wave steepness. But most often, wave chop isn’t going to drive a mooring design. In this way, it still makes sense to do a reality check on the absolute wave heights along with wave steepness – be sure to check both wave steepness and total wave height together.

Ultimately, you need to check your floating system’s response to environmental conditions. Many floating systems have one or more natural periods of motion – these are conditions in which resonance may be possible. The resulting large motions in resonance (and loads in the moorings) may result from relatively small environmental forces. Environmental conditions that may excite the system in these conditions often need to be carefully considered regardless of the wave steepness in those conditions.

It’s time for an example

The SOFS mooring, deployed and maintained by CSIRO and IMOS, is located in almost 5000m deep water in the southern ocean. This full ocean depth mooring has provided a valuable time-series of measurements for many years at that location. The single largest wave measured there topped 22m. So does this kind of extreme wave height drive the maximum loads in the mooring?

Not necessarily. In all locations in the ocean, there is a wide range of sea states and wave heights. The largest wave heights occur in sea states with a 17m significant wave height and 19 second wave spectrum peak period. But the maximum loads tend to occur in conditions with lower significant wave height, around 10m and 12 second wave spectrum peak period.

A rough estimate of the steepness is possible from the wavelength of a 19 second wave and 12 second deepwater wave and the significant wave height. In the 17m sea, the steepness is only 0.03, while in the 10m sea, the steepness is 0.044.

In this particular case, the larger wave steepness in the 10m sea corresponds with more rapid loading and motions in the mooring, creating larger loads. This is also seen in field measurements and ProteusDS Oceanographic dynamic analysis modelling of the SOFS mooring tension.

SOFS buoy in ocean waves

SOFS buoy riding through ocean waves. Picture credit: Eric Schulz from Australia Bureau of Meteorology / IMOS

In summary

There’s often a range of environmental conditions to consider when designing a floating system and its mooring. Finding a way to narrow down the driving environmental load cases helps save time. Wave steepness, which is the ratio of wave height to wavelength, can help filter down critical load cases. It’s a mistake to assume the maximum wave height will be your worst-case scenario because it isn’t always the steepest wave condition. But steepness alone is not a perfect filtering mechanism, so you still need to do a reality check on the maximum wave height.

At the start of a design project, you may feel like you are a clockwork toy, zinging around aimlessly when digging through mounds of environmental data. But if you consider wave steepness, you may find you can quickly identify crucial sea states to start a mooring design and get to the next step faster.

Next step

We have a few ProteusDS Oceanographic sample moorings on our website. Check out a mooring layout for SOFS in the downloads area here.

Thanks to CSIRO

Thanks to Pete Jansen from CSIRO Marine National Facility / IMOS for sharing technical pointers, sharing data, and helping assess the SOFS mooring system and buoy dynamics.