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Treasure hunting for voyagers

Nov 7, 2007 Twenty years ago only the Navy (and Woods Hole and Scripps) had highly capable underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). Fifteen years ago only the Navy and oil companies had them. Ten years ago only salvage companies could be added to that list. Today, a yacht owner with a bit of cash can have his or her own ROV for exploring he sea bottom. Camera-equipped ROVs can be used for such tasks as checking a vessel's running gear and hull to checking the set of the anchor to — you guessed it — looking for sunken treasure. All from the dry confines of your cockpit. West Marine has just introduced an ROV product called VideoRay.

From the press release: West Marine, the country's favorite retailer of boating supplies and accessories, today announced the installation of two unique displays introducing exciting new underwater technology to the boating public. The VideoRay is an underwater robotic camera that allows people to see and explore underwater from the comfort of their cabin.

Randy Repass, the Founder and Chairman of West Marine, saw the potential of using VideoRay technology to make boating safer and more enjoyable after a demonstration in Monterey, California with the Monterrey Bay Aquarium's Science under Sail program. Repass noted, "VideoRay's underwater robots let boaters investigate the fascinating undersea world of coral, fish, and other underwater treasures. You can also perform detailed inspections of the hull and running gear of your boat, and follow the anchor line to make certain your anchor's securely set. All of this can be done without getting wet!"

West Marine customers may select any underwater robot from the entire range of the VideoRay products. The entry level Scout, weighs just 8 pounds and starts at $5995 USD, but VideoRays can be equipped with additional video cameras, sonar, positioning systems or other accessories, and are used for underwater surveys, offshore inspections, search and recovery, homeland defense, science, fish farming and a range of applications in underwater environments. Visitors to the San Diego and Ft. Lauderdale stores can experience and control the VideoRay Explorer model in the new interactive displays – but all units can be ordered from any store or online at  www.westmarine.com or by calling 1-800-BOATING.