Date of Award

Spring 2008

Project Type


Program or Major

Ocean Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Kenneth Baldwin


Driving large support piles in brackish estuaries results in permanent damage, and possibly death to marine mammals and fragile infant fish spawned in these areas. The damage is a result of excessive acoustic intensities produced by the pile driving activity. To monitor this 'noise', students in the Undergraduate Ocean Research Projects: TECH 797 2005-2006 (Risso et al. 2006), working with Dr. Ken Baldwin as their advisor, proposed the concept of using an 'Acoustic Measurement Buoy'. Their project was funded by the National Sea Grant College Program, NOAA, and Department of Commerce.

Their problem statement was "To develop a portable, robust, and inexpensive system for measurement of waterborne noise associated with construction in coastal and estuarine regions" (Risso et al. 2006). Based upon extensive testing and experimentation, this thesis evaluates the feasibility of their design, the problems encountered, some solutions and recommendations for improvements in putting the 'Acoustic Measurement Buoy' to practical use. The individual components were analyzed to compare their requirements, specifications and performance.

Evaluations were performed on a test bench, in the tank in the Jere Chase Ocean Engineering Lab, on the R/V Gulf Challenger and at a floating dock in a coastal marine environment. The data were collected using National Instruments LabVIEW(TM) software, data acquisition hardware, and post processed using Matlab(TM) software. Standard techniques in failure and root cause analysis, such as cause and effect diagrams, fishbone diagrams, flow diagrams and process maps will be used in the data and component analysis.