Survey to create 3D map of seabed off Bridlington

Titan Environmental Survey vessel MV Endeavour is mapping the seabed.

Titan Environmental Survey vessel MV Endeavour is mapping the seabed.

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East Riding of Yorkshire Council has begun work on the second phase of its offshore seabed mapping project.

Work is being co-ordinated by Pell Frischmann, a national consultancy firm, and carried out by specialist seabed survey company Titan Survey.

To complete the study, which is known as a bathymetric survey, sound pulses will be transmitted to the seabed and collected by a survey vessel.

These signals are then used to build up an accurate 3D map of the seabed.

This follow up work to the 2011 survey will resurvey key sites of interest such as the sand banks off Bridlington and Spurn Point, as well as smaller sand waves and the extensive barren mud flats that lie just offshore, to determine how these observed seabed features change over time.

Analysis should show how deep water sediment is transported along the East Coast shoreline and whether there is any interaction between this and upper beach supplies.

The study, which has been commissioned by the council using Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs money, will produce an accurate map of the seabed from Flamborough Head down to Spurn Point – from the shore up to 2km out to sea.

Neil McLachlan, senior coastal engineer for the council, is excited about seeing the results of the survey.

He said: “A lot of this type of work has already been done on the South Coast, but we needed it done here to fill in the gaps in our knowledge.

“We never get to see what’s happening on the seabed and this tidal zone is where the majority of our sediment lies so it’s vitally important that we learn more about what is going on.

“In the longer term this data will enable us to monitor foreshore changes that may result with the onset of global warming and assess what impact other factors, such as offshore dredging, may be having on beach levels.

“We are looking forward to getting the results soon; the data we have seen already looks fascinating.

“The more knowledge we have, the more preventative action we can take.”

The initial 2011 survey showed for the first time what the seabed off the coastline looks like, picking up previously unknown bedforms that show a diverse and complex marine environment.

The results can be viewed on the Channel Coast Website: http://www.channelcoast.org/northeast.