Science Center Objects

Mini Benthic OBservation camera Sled, or “Mini BOB Sled,” is and underwater video tow fish that can operate to depths of 75 meters.

Cameras and cables are attached to a long steel frame with a propeller at the end.

The “Mini BOB Sled” is a hand-deployable high definition video camera tow fish. It has 300 Watts of LED lighting, and parallel lasers to estimate the scale of features observed in video imagery. It is capable of operating in water depths up 75 meters. It requires 120 volt AC power and a dry space on the vessel for a small monitor and recording equipment.

A video camera inside a cylindrical housing with a rounded lens is mounted onto a steel bracket on white plastic tubing.


  • Manufacturer - USGS: Designed and built at the USGS PCMSC Marine Facility (MarFac)
  • Model -Mini BOBSled V1.1
  • Weight – approximately 10 kg in air
  • Dimensions – W 0.3 m, L 1.25 m, H 0.3 m
  • Power Requirements 120 VAC, total system consumption ~320 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 75 meters
  • Limitations - maximum tow speed of  approximately 1.5 -  3 knots, sea state 1.5 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 –  Towing capability A-frame or davit, low speed maneuverability, protected space for monitor, control and recording equipment.

Additional Equipment Required

A support vessel with protected lab space.

Complementary Systems

Bathyswath Seafloor Mapping System, BOB Sled instrumented camera system

A video camera inside a cylindrical housing with a rounded lens next to another cylinder for power supply.

Underwater video camera housing.

A smiling man sits on the back of a boat holding a rope that is secured to an instrument that's being lowered into the water.

USGS ocean engineer Gerry Hatcher guides the mini BOB sled camera system into the water.