Sea vessels

HMS Scott: What's it like on Navy's only deep-water survey ship?

HMS Scott, the Royal Navy's only deep-water survey ship, is preparing to leave Devonport for deployment on what will be her 24th summer survey season.

She will be conducting survey work, with the ability to collect depth information over a strip of the seabed several kilometres wide.

The Commanding Officer of HMS Scott, Commander Tom Harrison told Forces News: "Only 20% of the world's oceans are surveyed to modern standards.

"Scott has surveyed 3.7%... so she has a vital role to play to chart the oceans both for submarine and surface navigation."

This latest deployment comes after a long lay-up because of technical problems, including serious issues with the ballast system.

Named after explorer Robert Falcon Scott, HMS Scott is the largest ocean survey vessel in Western Europe.

Due to her novel crew rotation system, she can stay at sea for 300 days a year, meaning the ship can stay at her work, while the crew get time away. 

Out of about 78 officers and sailors only two-thirds are ever on board at the same time.

She also has an auxiliary role as a mine countermeasures vessel.

HMS Scott is the Royal Navy’s only deep-water survey ship and the the largest ocean survey vessel in Western Europe.
HMS Scott is the Royal Navy's only deep-water survey ship and the the largest ocean survey vessel in Western Europe.

To safely use a submarine, you need to know what is there, which is where it helps to chart the deep-water ocean.

To do this, HMS Scott's crew is composed of specialists.

Able Seaman Sam Livingston one of the Hydrographic Meteorologists on board HMS Scott said he chose the job as "you get good qualifications out of it" and he has "always been interested in geological studies".

"A lot of people don't know what we do until they come onto the ship and then they realise how important it is," he added.

HMS Scott was specially designed to carry the modern High Resolution Multi Beam Sonar System.

Petty Officer Chris Hastings, Petty Officer Hydrographer on HMS Scott, explains how the ship collects its data: "We use our multi beam echo sonar in order to build up a picture as opposed to getting a single depth directly beneath the ship.

"We're able to get a number of depths either side and conduct our survey lines up and down."

Seaman Specialist Able Seaman Sam Dewey is trained to rescue people overboard and maintains all the safety equipment on the ship. 

He told Forces News: "You have lots of space, ship's company are really friendly, and everyone is a good team player on board."