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What Is a Transducer? Why Do Ships Need Them?

An old ship anchored to the shore

Transducers are an integral part of any ship and play an instrumental role in aiding the safe navigation of all vessels the world over.

This article will explain the importance of transducers and their applications in the commercial shipping and marine industries. It is also important to learn about their inner workings to ensure they are functioning correctly, are properly maintained, and why they need to be replaced when not operating at optimal levels.

This basic definition of a transducer is a device that converts energy from one form to another. Since we are focusing on ships, it should be noted that a transducer fitted underneath a ship converts electrical energy into high-frequency sound energy.

Let’s dig deeper and learn more about this device.

Why Does a Ship Need a Transducer?

A transducer on a ship can be referred to as its ‘underwater antenna’. It allows the captain and crew to detect different frequencies in the sea that aid in navigation and safety.

The pulsating sound waves which are emitted from a transducer bounce off objects in the water and then are reflected back. The transducer then converts the reflected sound waves into readable, measurable data. Such data could, in theory, be used to gather a multitude of different kinds of information about the deep seas below. Ships generally utilize transducers to accurately measure speed, depth, and subsea obstacles.

Close up shots of a transducer
A ship’s transducer protruding through hull plating

In simple words, transducers help the ship crew stay aware of their sailing speed which is important for planning, scheduling, and avoiding collisions. They can also aid in finding irregularities in the seabed, which could otherwise be detrimental to navigation and safety.

Generally, a transducer spends about 1% time converting signals, and 99% of the time quietly listening to them.

The two most common types of transducers are echo sounder and the speed log.

Speed Logs

These transducers are sensors that measure the sailing speed of a ship in the water.

Echo Sounder

The Echo sounder is a sonar device that determines the depth and frequency of acoustic waves in seawater underneath a vessel.

Close up shots of a transducer

Effective Transducer Repairs and Replacement

Just like any other part of a ship, transducers are also prone to damage and require maintenance and replacement. The different kinds of issues that can occur in a transducer from time to time include cracking of the sensor casing and damage to the attachment points. Internal problems like broken circuits and wiring are also common, resulting in faulty or intermitted signals. Marine growth coverage is also an issue, as a build-up of growth could impede operations. Frequent cleanings are required to ensure the sensors are performing correctly.

All these problems directly impact the device’s accuracy, which can hinder efficiency and safety. Hence, it’s imperative to choose a professional ship repair company such as Thai Subsea Services for professional transducer servicing and change-outs.

A Close up shot of a transducer

Quality Underwater Ship Repair Services

Thai Subsea is a full-service underwater ship repair company that makes use of globally recognized divers that can swiftly adapt to various repair and replacement tasks in your ship. They’re adept in handling all types of ship repairs including transducer replacements. Thai Subsea Services offers commercial diving contractors, underwater inspections,  hull cleaning services at competitive prices. Contact today to receive a free quote.