Safe Passage

Safe Passage

Working in partnership with Strathclyde University and Nith Inshore Rescue Creative Help is developing a new satellite imagery driven solution to finding safe passage through shifting sands.

The challenge

To inform routes for commercial and leisure craft in tidal coastal regions which are restricted due to the absence of regular monitoring of safe channels for sailing through sandbanks, mud and shingle which form a danger to life and vessels at low tide.


Across the world, coastal tidal regions are unsafe to navigate due to shifting mud, sands and shingle pushed by water currents – mapping of channels for safe passage quickly becomes outdated. Understanding the exact location of a channel week to week and depth against the cycle of the tide will aid safe passage for both commercial and leisure craft. Many of the worlds estuary channels (with the exception of major ports in which regular dredging and inspections are carried out) are currently uncharted and deemed unsafe to navigate due to shifting channels.


We will use tidal synchronous satellite orbits to capture imagery of channel precise locations at low tide and digitally overlay weekly updated information onto maritime chart maps. This will provide dynamic mapped channel marking showing the precise location and the predictive depth of water channels through shifting sands and shingle responsive to tide state and sea swell.


Data feed to Navigation Chart Software to overlay as near as possible realtime (<40 days) channel location information and predictive depths based on tide cycle and sea state (swell). Licensed to recognised Digital Maritime Chart service providers and Search and Rescue teams.

Other potential applications:

  • Plotting submerged hazards to update chart locations
  • Predictive arrival and suggested departure times to meet the tide
  • Digital warning signage for coastal areas to inform tourists
  • Automated geotargeted warning information to mobile phones – “Tide warning – Get off the beach”

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Posted on

April 14, 2020