Expert to answer questions at Maritime Museum lecture
What is hydrography, and who does it affect?
And Charles Brennan will be happy to answer it in his talk about the study of ocean and shoreline geography, its characteristics and its importance when he speaks at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.
“The History and Importance of Hydrography” begins at 7 p.m. July 21. There will also be a pre-lecture reception for museum members only from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m.
“If you’ve ever sailed in the Santa Barbara Channel or elsewhere and referred to a chart to identify your location and information about the seafloor, depth, underwater hazards, etc., then you have been the beneficiary of hydrographic studies,” said Mr. Brennan, who has been a surveyor and hydrographer for 50 years.
His extensive career has given him a unique perspective and wide-ranging experience in the various facets of the field. He has overseen trans-oceanic hydrographic surveys for the installation of submarine fiber-optic communication cables and has been involved in planning and completing major offshore survey, pipeline and construction projects in the Persian Gulf, India, the Gulf of Mexico and throughout Asia.
“GPS alone does not provide the information boaters need to complete their voyages safely. Hydrography surveyors pay particular attention to acquiring precise locations of shallow areas, obstructions and aids to navigation that warn mariners,” Mr. Brennan said.
“Hydrography is the science that measures and describes the physical features of the navigable portion of the Earth’s surface and adjoining coastal areas. Hydrographic surveyors study these bodies of water to see what the ‘floor’ looks like.
“Surveyors pay particular attention to acquiring precise locations of shallow areas, obstructions and aids to navigation that warn mariners. They also record tide or water level measurements to provide a vertical reference … for water depths. Surveys also determine seafloor material (i.e. sand, mud, rock), which is important for anchoring, dredging, structure construction, pipeline and cable routing and fish habitat.”
Mr. Brennan’s worked with Offshore Navigation Inc. in New Orleans as a surveyor for world-wide seismic survey operations and assisted in trans-oceanic cable route surveys.
For Wimpol Ltd. in the U.K., Mr. Brennan oversaw trans-oceanic hydrographic surveys for the installation of submarine fiber-optic communication cables, the R.V. Ocean Surveyor with medium and deep water multibeam systems, and training for surveyors in multi-beam techniques and equipment operation.
In addition, for various companies he has been involved in planning and completing major offshore survey, pipeline and construction projects.
For the past 14 years, Mr. Brennan has been the chief hydrographic engineer of R2Sonic in Austin, Texas, where he is responsible for setting up and operating the test and verification division and support department as well as for all R2Sonic customers’ installations and training.
“I find it amusing when people ask me why, at 73, I am still working,” he said. “I reply that as a hydrographer, there is still 77% of unexplored seafloor to be discovered; if that does not give one a reason to keep working, I do not know what will. I am still having fun while doing it, and I hope the presentation I will give at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum will provide some of that same enjoyment of exploration.”