The purpose of this project is to design and test a block contact detection system. Use of the system is intended to reduce or eliminate the need for divers to verify contact between the blocks and the vessel being lifted during touch down.


Divers are often used when drydocking after vessel touchdown but before the main lifting sequence to confirm that all of the blocks are properly contacted. If the diver inspection indicates that the blocks are not properly contacted by the vessel being lifted, the dry dock operator has the chance to submerge and re-align the vessel or abandon the drydocking prior to lifting a vessel and possibility damaging the vessel or the dry dock.

Two challenges that occur when using divers in drydocking is reliability and visibility. Unfortunately, a large percentage of dry dock accidents are a result of issues with divers. Miscommunication, lack of knowledge, or confusion of the divers can give a dock master bad information when lifting a vessel. Furthermore, even a well-informed experienced diver can have issues when diving in locations with poor visibility. In some locations, visibility can be as low as six inches. This makes the reliability of divers worse and exposes diving personnel to risk of injury or loss of life. The proposed system could be a less expensive package for obtaining reliable information and reducing diver time.

Key Deliverables / Benefits:

If successful, the project will result in more cost effective, safer dry dockings. The system has the potential to greatly reduce or eliminate the time that divers spend inspecting blocks during dry docking.

Point of Contact:

Alex Stiglich | DM Consulting | alex@drydocktraining.com


Planning, Production Processes & Facilities

Project Team:

  • DM Consulting, Austal USA, Naval Station San Diego

March 2023 – February 2024