Reducing Dry docking with Subsea Engineering Solutions

Shearwater Marine Services, with an established history of 28 years of service to the Royal Navy, is an innovator in the field of underwater repairs and services. Committed to preventing vessel dry docking, the company leverages its vast knowledge and experience to execute advanced repair methods. This approach offers significant time and cost savings while maintaining high-quality results. This case study examines the variety of tasks undertaken by Shearwater, highlighting its capabilities and the advantages of its unique approach.


Shearwater Marine Services is at the forefront of underwater engineering services, with its primary objective being to prevent vessel dry docking. Accumulating extensive experience and knowledge over the past 28 years, working closely with the Royal Navy and various clients, the company offers a wide array of services. Many of these tasks have become routine operations due to Shearwater's expert handling and efficiency, all of which contribute to substantial time and cost savings.


Despite the routine nature of many tasks, each assignment presents unique challenges. These range from the complexity of the repair work to the varying underwater conditions. Performing these tasks underwater rather than in dry dock adds an additional layer of complexity but also offers the potential for significant savings.


Shearwater meets these challenges with a blend of innovation, expertise, and an expansive array of services, all designed to save time and reduce costs. The tasks that Shearwater routinely undertakes include:

• Hull Scrubs - V&A Class Submarines

• Restricted Access Ballast Tank Diving

• In-Water Bellow Replacement

• Blank Installation – Hull and Ballast Tank

• Wet-Welding – CE Approved

• Prop Polishing

• Bangkok Strainers

• Grill Removal - Sea Chest and Ballast Tank Cleaning

• Blanking Fit and Removal

• NDT Surveys

• Lloyds Surveys

• ICCP – V Class Submarine Complete Replacement Utilising Underwater Habitat

• Flank Array Repairs

• Cofferdam Installation

• Underwater Painting

• Thickness, Pintle and Shaft Wear Down Readings

• Dry Dock - Capper Block Inspections

• Anode Replacement and Removal

• Docking - Shore Connections (waste, water, cooling water strainers etc)

• Thruster Removal

• Rope Guard Repairs

• Hull Blanking – Design and Fit

• Sensor Replacement

• Gland Packing

• Prop, Hull, Rudder


Shearwater's approach has resulted in significant time and cost savings. By performing repairs underwater, the company eliminates the need for dry docking, a process that is both time-consuming and expensive. Dry docking can often result in lost operational time and additional costs related to transportation, dock fees, and lost revenues. By contrast, Shearwater's underwater solutions enable vessels to remain operational for longer, reducing downtime and associated costs.

A noteworthy example of this is the case of the ICCP – V Class Submarine Complete Replacement Utilising Underwater Habitat. By conducting this complex operation underwater, Shearwater saved the client both the time it would have taken to transport the vessel to a dry dock and the substantial costs associated with dry docking.

Moreover, Shearwater's commitment to innovation continually leads to the development of new methods and techniques that increase efficiency and further reduce costs. Their expertise enables them to respond swiftly and effectively to issues, minimising the risk of more significant problems down the line.

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