Science Center Objects

Benthic OBservation camera Sled, or “BOB Sled,” is and underwater video camera system that can operate to depths of 700 meters.

Two men wearing safety gear maneuver a metal frame carrying instruments

Gerry Hatcher and Pete Dartnell guide the BOB Sled into the water.

The “BOB Sled” is a multi-instrument platform with two high-definition video cameras. It's equipped with 450 Watts of LED lighting, two sets of parallel lasers which provide approximate scale to objects seen in the video, a forward-looking, obstacle-avoidance scanning sonar, real-time gigabit data telemetry, and 150 Watts of additional payload power available for mission specific temporary instrumentation. It is capable of operating in water depths up 700 meters. The system requires hydraulic power for a small deck winch, 120 volt AC power, and dry lab space on the vessel for monitors and equipment.

Two men watch computer monitors.

Monitors show the video from the BOB Sled.


  • Manufacturer - USGS: Designed and built at the USGS PCMSC Marine Facility (MarFac)
  • Model - BOBSled V1.1
  • Weight – approximately 90 kg in air
  • Dimensions – W 0.5 m, L 2.25 m, H 0.7 m
  • Power Requirements 120 VAC, total system consumption ~600 watts max.

Operational Characteristics

  • Minimum Operational Depth  - limited by near focus to water depths deeper than 1 meter
  • Maximum Operational Depth - limited by tether length to 700 meters
  • Limitations - maximum tow speed of approximately 1.5 -  3 knots, sea state 2.5 meters or less, water clarity limits acceptable areas of operation
  • Power Outputs / Freq. Ranges – N/A, It is a passive camera system
  • Ship’s Requirements – Hydraulic power tap for deck winch, towing capability A-frame or davit, low speed maneuverability, dry lab space for monitors, control and recording equipment

Additional Equipment Required

A support vessel with enclosed lab space

Complementary Systems

Bathyswath and Reson 7111 multibeam echosounder seafloor mapping systems

Two people maneuver an apparatus suspended from a cable on the stern of a boat.

Recovering the BOB Sled onto research vessel Parke Snavely