Authorities, agencies or scientific institutions that consider a potential future implementation of a ferry system in their research/monitoring should consider the following recommendations:
- In the planning phase a careful assessment should be carried out to judge if the ferry/ship route meets the objectives of the monitoring or research tasks. For example: Will surface measurements from a ship yield enough information to reach the objective or has a combination with buoys to be considered?
- The type of instrumentation, i.e., sensors or analysers, their applicability and their limitations for the intended task and the meaningfulness of the scientific results obtained with these instruments should be assessed in advance. More details can be found in the deliverables of the Final Report
- 4. The effort/expenditure of the maintenance that depends on the number and type of measured parameters should be carefully observed. More details can be found in deliverable D-6-2 “Cost-Benefit Estimation Report”.
- Even when a FerryBox system is highly automated, the potential user should keep in mind that regular (1-2 days) data checks and regular maintenance/calibrations (weekly to bimonthly, depending on instrumentation and required accuracy) are needed.
The costs for the procurement of instrumentation and the sensors as well as the installation costs are relatively low as in many cases standard components can be used. Infrastructure which is already installed on the vessel (e.g. rooms, cable channels, water and energy supplies, communication equipment) can be used in support.
The typical investment costs are in the range of 50000 EUR for a “standard arrangement” to 150000 Euro for a system with enhanced capabilities (such as integrated ADCP, automated sampler and/or algal group sensor). Installation and set-up costs critically depend on the ferry and the desired level of operation and maintenance friendliness. Low-cost installations in or near the machinery room are achievable for around 10000 to 20000 EUR. More sophisticated installations, or instance with hull-mounted sensors or supported by a moon-pool, can usually only be made when a vessel is refitted or newly built. Such installations typically cost several 10000 EUR but may be supported by an interested ship owner. The same applies for installations in the passenger areas which display data and associated information of interest which typically range from around 5000 to 10000 EUR (excluding specific programming and multi-media developments).
Operational costs of FerryBox systems need to cover the following activities:
- Servicing and maintenance
- calibration and referencing
- system operation and control
- data quality control
- pre- and post-processing
- archiving up to a stage “ready to use for applications”.
The main cost factor is personnel. Across the FerryBox project this was experienced to be around 3–4 person months/year (inclusive of scientist, technicians and support staff) per operational system. An optimisation potential exists when an institution routinely operates more than one FerryBox system. Our limited experience of operating multiple systems suggests an increase by a factor of 0.5 for each additional system above that for the first system. Associated are costs for consumables, travels and communication which are very much application-dependant and summed up to an average of 5000–10000 EUR per year. For each measuring system the replacement costs for the FerryBox system ought to be taken into account in this cost category. Considering a typical life-time for marine monitoring equipment of 5 years and the aforementioned investment costs for a FerryBox system a budget of 10000–30000 EUR per year should therefore be considered.