New Video/Database Technology Being Developed in Scotland will Set New Benchmark in Sub-Sea Inspection

Scottish diving and marine contractors, Shearwater Marine Services Ltd, have entered into a ‘knowledge transfer partnership’ with Glasgow Caledonian University to revolutionise the way they capture, view and store video footage and technical data associated with underwater investigations.

The company, which is based in Dunoon, employs its expertise in a variety of areas including laying and maintaining sub-sea cables in the renewable energy industry; ship inspection and maintenance in the MoD and commercial shipping industries; civil construction; infrastructure inspection and maintenance; aquaculture services and potable water tank cleaning  in Scotland, the UK and beyond.

This new form of video and technical data transfer will allow office-based decision makers to view the dive and communicate with the dive site in real time, improve reporting quality and provide enhanced data storage and retrieval facility – all with the added benefit of improving diver safety.

Accessing immediate and detailed information will greatly improve decision making processes with obvious and immediate savings in time and money. The improved reporting will enhance understanding of asset condition, the associated maintenance needs and facilitate improved longer term planning of maintenance actions.   

Shearwater was introduced to GCU by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), when the company recognised an opportunity to improve the way it records, reports, stores and retrieves underwater footage and associated technical information relating to client assets to increase the efficiency of its operations and improve customer service.              

The result is a partnership funded by the government agency Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and Shearwater itself to the tune of £128,000, which will see recruitment of a project engineer based in Dunoon to liaise between Shearwater and Glasgow Caledonian University as they develop new systems that are both safe and easy for divers to operate and can instantly upload images and technical information to a central database.  Visit to view the job specification.

 Tommy Henaughen who is general manager at Shearwater Marine comments:

“This is an exciting development for Shearwater that will set a new industry benchmark in underwater inspection and reporting and will deliver real benefits directly to customers.

“From a company development perspective it will not only significantly improve the service to existing customers, but also present a platform to attract new customers and facilitate the progression into new markets both nationally and internationally.”                                                 

The Glasgow Caledonian University team comprises Professor Brian Stewart, Alan Nesbitt and Dr. Ali Ahmadinia from the Department of Communication, Network and Electronic Engineering.

Professor Stewart added: 

“Using current technology, we will develop innovative recording and database systems for Shearwater that allows instantaneous streaming and upload of images as well as other key technical information to a central electronic database so that dives can be viewed and assessed immediately.  A further exciting possibility is that clients – no matter what their location – could watch underwater investigations live allowing them to make instant and better informed decisions about the care and maintenance of sub-sea assets.”

HIE Development Manager, Daniel MacIntyre, concluded:

“We are delighted to have played a part in creating this exciting new partnership, which will deliver new expertise in the workforce at Shearwater and generate benefit for the region as a whole.  In particular, there is potential for related companies to cluster in Dunoon.”        

The post of project engineer will be for two years in the first instance. The project plan has been developed to ensure customer benefits will be generated on a stepped basis progressively throughout the project with the first operational efficiencies gained within the first three months.  In addition, it is anticipated that this innovative approach once developed could be rolled out to other industries.  

Shearwater has been involved with many major and successful projects and is recognised for delivering practical engineering solutions to the benefit of their customers.  Examples of the company’s underwater operations include the installation of sub-sea cables for the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) near Billia Croo in Orkney; those associated with construction of the new Kincardine Bridge over the Firth of Forth and the successful environmentally friendly approach to the cleaning of potable water tanks without the need to empty the tanks.

For further information on Shearwater Marine visit .  

Information on academic expertise available to business through Glasgow Caledonian University’s Applied Knowledge Exchange is available at  

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Note to Editors  

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) is Europe's leading programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base.

HIE's role is to develop sustainable economic growth across the region. To achieve this it creates infrastructure for future investment, assists large and small businesses with growth aspirations and has a unique role strengthening communities, particularly in fragile areas.

HIE supports the growth ambitions of business and social enterprise clients by creating close working relationships in order to accelerate growth in turnover, profitability, wage levels, exports and therefore Gross Value Added (GVA) in the HIE area.

HIE also invests in transformational projects across the region to make the Highlands and Islands a more competitive and attractive place to live, work, study and grow.  The HIE region takes in more than half of Scotland, and is home to around 440,000 people.

For further information, please contact:

Nancy McLardie, Press Officer, 0141 331 8684 / 07795021138

Alison Arnot, Communications Manager, 0141 331 8670 / 07795052553

One of the UK's most dynamic universities, Glasgow Caledonian offers a modern, cosmopolitan environment for learning, teaching and applied research.

The university has particular teaching and research strengths in the fields of health, the environment and society. Glasgow Caledonian is rated among the top 10 in the UK for its allied health research and in the top 20 in the built and natural environment.

 Glasgow Caledonian University’s mission is to provide a high quality, accessible, inclusive and flexible learning and teaching environment enhanced by curiosity driven research. It applies its knowledge and skills for the social and economic benefits of the communities it serves in Scotland and around the world.


Contact: Nancy McLardie
Phone: 0141 331 8684

Website: http://www.