A small boat is often used to attach a line or cable to the AUV.  In this sea-test, they used a RHIB, which is a hard-bottomed boat with inflated rubber sides.  Once the AUV is secure, they towed it over to the support ship to hook to the crane and lift out of the water.

Explorers often use a small boat to attach a line or cable to the AUV. In this sea-test, they used a ridge-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB), which is a hard-bottomed boat with inflated rubber sides. Once the AUV is secure, they tow it over to the support ship to hook the AUV to the crane and lift out of the water. Image courtesy of Thunder Bay 2010 Expedition, NOAA-OER.

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Related Links

Thunder Bay 2010: Cutting Edge Technology and the Hunt for Lake Huron’s Lost Ships

Thunder Bay 2010: Recovering an AUV

NOAA Ocean Explorer Gallery