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New monitoring network for Scottish ports

In the past, the ferries operating off the west coast of Scotland would have to sail to port to assess weather and tidal conditions would allow them to berth alongside the pier.  In efforts to save time, fuel and costs, the Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), which owns many of the ferries, ports and harbors in the region, decided to install 15  tide and weather stations, using OTT technology. These stations also provide passengers with earlier warnings of potential ferry cancellation, as well as protect the crew from unsafe berthing conditions.

The technology used consists of OTT Radar Level Sensors.  At two locations, it was not possible to install the OTT RLS, so the OTT CBS was installed instead. Included in the stations are Lufft ultrasonic weather monitors for meteorological data and an Adcon radio for telemetry.  These 15 stations are currently in use and provide the reliable, consistent data the ferries require.

Read a detailed description of the project here

water level radar sensor for surface water applications

OTT RLS - Radar Level Sensor

Non-contact water level sensor for long term surface water measurements

The OTT RLS is a non-contact radar level sensor with pulse radar technology that is ideal for monitoring in remote or hard to reach locations.

  • Surface water
  • Water level / distance to water
  • Non-contact pulse radar
  • Measures water level or depth to water from a bridge, pier or mounting arm
  • 0.4 … 35 m
  • 0.8 … 2 m: ± 10 mm; 2 … 30 m: ± 3 mm; 30 … 35 m: ± 10 mm
  • No
  • SDI-12, RS-485 (using SDI-12), or 4 ...20 mA
Non-contact bubbler in water level sensor for surface water monitoring

OTT CBS - Compact Bubbler Sensor

Non-contact, bubbler sensor for longterm surface water level monitoring

The OTT CBS is a compact, accurate, and low power bubbler sensor for surface or groundwater level monitoring.

  • Surface water Groundwater
  • Bubbler-in
  • Drift-free water level measurement - no pressure sensor or electronics in the water
  • 0 to 15 m or 0 to 30 m
  • ± 3 mm (high accuracy version); ± 5 mm (standard and 30 meter versions)
  • No
  • SDI-12, RS-485 (using SDI-12), or 4 ...20 mA
Ultrasonic wind sensor Ventus OTT


Ultrasonic Wind Sensor

Thanks to the ultrasonic measuring method the wind sensor Lufft Ventus has no moving parts and therefore needs almost no maintenance. It measures wind speed and wind direction according to the WMO guideline and acquires the barometric pressure.

  • Wind speed, wind direction, virtual temperature, barometric pressure
  • Ultrasonic
  • Maintenance-free measurement, suitable for extreme ambient conditions, ice-free operation, vibration and seawater resistant, compatible interfaces
  • SDI-12, RS-485, various RS-485-protocols, analogue output
  • Historically, ferry masters would have to sail to a port and visually assess the weather and tide conditions before deciding the weather safe berthing would be possible.
  • Remote access to accurate, local data on tide level and key climatic conditions brings substantial improvements for the safety of passengers, ship crew, and harbor operations staff
  • In recent years, severe weather events have become more frequent and seem to develop faster. (e.g. At the port of Armadale a sudden drop of temperature of 8°C in just 5 minutes has been recorded and a record wind gust of 96 knots at Castlebay). 



Each monitor is located adjacent to the main berthing area on the pier with a lockable GRP control box. The system is comprised of:

  • OTT Radar Level Sensors with a 35 m measurement range
  • Lufft Weather Sensors - Ultrasonic Weather Monitors - measuring wind speed, gust and direction, air temperature and barometric pressure
  • Adcon radio units, with back-up batteries and a marine grade antenna.
  • The sensors have no moving parts and extremely low power consumption.
  • At two locations it was not possible to install a radar sensor so an OTT CBS (bubbler sensor) was installed.
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