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Towboard Surveys

Towboarding is a method employed to quickly survey a marine area. A towboard team is usually composed of two divers who are pulled behind a single skiff. One diver has a board with a camera facing down at 90° to survey the bottom composition and another diver has a camera tilted forward at 20° to get a wider picture of the habitat. These videos were taken in the NWHI by researchers aboard the National Marine Fisheries Service Research Vessel the Townsend Cromwell in 2001.

Towboard diver video. Click the image to see the video.Towboard Diver collecting data.- (QuickTime Movie, 1.5 mb)


Coral reef habitat in NWHI.  Click the image to see the video.Coral garden - (QuickTime Movie, 3.4 MB)




Coral reef habitat in NWHI.  Click the image to see the video.Coral garden II - (QuickTime Movie, 2.1 MB)




Black-tip reef sharks among a swarm of other fish. Click the image to see the video.Black-tip Reef Sharks and other fish - (QuickTime Movie, 2.3 MB)





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Talk About It!

Black-tip Sharks Posturing

Asked by Tony from Schofield on Sep 13, 2002.
What caused the black tips to start posturing? At the start of the video clip, they appeared calm. Is this typical of sharks that have not seen humans before?

Answered by the NOW-RAMP Crew on Sep 14, 2002.
We have seen sharks on nearly every dive here, including black and whitetip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, and Galapagos sharks. All of these species have been inquisitive but calm. On two dives at French Frigate Shoals, the research teams felt uncomfortable with the sharks' behavior and left the water. We're not sure what caused the sharks in the towboarding video to become erratic, since that video was taken last year from the R/V Townsend Cromwell.

Color of Corals in Videos

Asked by Nita from Kaneohe on Sep 19, 2002.
The corals I have seen had brighter colors than the corals in the videos. Why is that?

Answered by the NOW-RAMP Crew on Sep 20, 2002.
The corals of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are not as diverse or as colorful as the corals of Southeast Asia or the Caribbean, and this is primarily a function of the isolated location of the NWHI and their northerly latitude.

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