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• Log measures speed and distance travelled by

the ship
• Log measures speed over water
• Speed is affected by current and tidal streams
• Speed over ground v/s that over water
The speed log is a marine electronic device used
to measure the speed of a moving vessel.
There are three types of speed logs used on
commercial vessels, using different principles
of speed measuring technologies ,such as;
• “Pitometer Principle”
• “Electro magnetic induction”,
• “Doppler Effect”
Types of Logs
• Towed or Patent log : usually towed astern of the ship
through the water

• The Bottom Log : Fitted on the hull of the ship on the

bottom plating. Can be withdrawn into the hull when
not required.
• Four types of bottom logs;
- Impeller Log
- Pressure Tube or Pitot type log
- Electromagnetic log
- Doppler log
Advantages of Bottom Logs
• Can have repeaters for other nav aids
• Displays on the bridge, engine room , etc
• Retractable and safer than towed logs
• More accurate than towed logs
• Don’t get fouled up with surface objects unlike
towed sensors
• Can measure even low speeds( coming
alongside , anchoring , etc)
• Impeller fitted in a tube and installed at the
bottom plating
• Whole tube is retractable when not required
in order to avoid getting fouled/damaged
• Impeller rotation converted to electric signals
which gets integrated to give speed and
distance travelled
Pressure Tube or Pitot type log
• Retractable tube which extends out of the
bottom plating
• Has two pipes ,one facing forward (Dynamic) and
the other downwards (Static)
• When ship stopped ,pressure on both tubes will
be equal
• When ship moves, difference in pressure is
converted to electric signals (proportional to
speed through water)
• Integrated with time would give distance
Sal Speed Log
• Operates on “Pitotmeter Principle” based on the
pressure developed when an open-ended tube is
exposed to water movement due to a vessel’s speed.
• The difference of head pressure of a Static tube and a
Pitot tube is compared in a pressure box, being applied
to opposite sides of a flexible diaphragm.
• A mechanical arrangement employing the servo
principle converts the movements of the diaphragm
and a synchro transmitter coupled to a drive motor
shaft transmits the vessel’s speed electrically to remote
synchro receivers to drive display units of speed and
Electromagnetic log
• Principle:
When a conductor cuts through a magnetic field,
a small e.m.f will be induced which would be
proportional to the speed of the movement of
the conductor.
• In the Log, seawater is the ‘conductor’ , ‘magnetic
field’ is created by a coil inside the tube
• EMF induced is measured by two sensors on sides
of the tube
• Induced voltage is proportional to speed of ship,
when integrated with time will display distance .
E M Log
• An Electromagnetic Log, sometimes called an "EM Log", measures
the speed of a vessel through water.
• It operates on the principle that:
i) when a conductor (such as water) passes through an
electromagnetic field, a voltage is created
ii) the amount of voltage created increases as the speed of the
conductor increases.
• The process is, the EM Log creates an electromagnetic field.
• a voltage is induced in the water; the magnitude of the voltage
varies depending upon the speed of the water flow past the sensor.
• the EM Log measures the voltage created and translates this into
the vessel's speed through water.
Advantages - No moving parts
• Salinity and temperature of water affects calibration
• Measurements affected by boundary layer, (water speed slowed
down close to the hull by friction)
Electromagnetic Speed Log
• Operates on the principle of electromagnetic induction
and provides highly accurate indication of speed
though the water even at low speeds.
• Two pickup electrodes are mounted athwart ships and
the emf (typically 50-400 micro Volts) induced in them
is proportional to the longitudinal speed of the vessel.
• A typical electromagnetic system consists of a Sensor
unit, preamplifier and a digital display unit.
• The device provides Speed and distance date for other
marine electronic navigational equipment through
relays, NMEA and RS422 outputs.
• This system is suitable for any type of sea going vessel
including new-generation of high speed water crafts.
Acoustic Doppler Measurements
• Sound is used to determine the speed of ships through the
water, using a technique called acoustic Doppler profiling.
• Sound is transmitted from a source on the ship and
reflects off the particles (mainly plankton) in the water
and returns back to a receiver on the ship.
• If the ship is moving relative to the particles, then the
received sound wave has a different frequency from the
transmitted wave, a phenomenon called Doppler shifting.
• E.g - listening to the sound of a siren as an emergency
vehicle first approaches us and then retreats away
(Doppler shifting the sound from higher to a lower
frequency, hence higher to lower pitch).
Doppler Log:
• Based on the principle of Doppler shift in frequency
i.e apparent change in frequency received when the
distance between source and observer is changing
due to the motion of either source or observer or

• A transducer is fitted on the ship’s keel

• It transmits a beam of acoustic wave at an angle,

usually 60 degs to the keel in the forward direction
Doppler Speed Log
Doppler effect

• named after Christian Doppler, is the change in

frequency and wavelength of a wave as perceived by
an observer moving relative to the source of the

• For waves that propagate in a wave medium, such as

sound waves, the velocity of the observer and of the
source are reckoned relative to the medium in which
the waves are transmitted.
• The total Doppler effect may therefore result from
either motion of the source or motion of the
Doppler Speed Log

• The Doppler system calculates speed to within

an accuracy of about 0.5 percent of the distance
• It functions well for all speeds that modern
vessels can attain .
• It works from a minimum depth of about 1.5 feet
to a maximum depth of about 600 feet.
• Frequencies employed are between 100kHz and
600 kHz
• The phenomenon of Doppler frequency shift is often
used to measure the speed of a moving object carrying
a transmitter.
• Ship speed logs use this principle to measure the
vessel’s speed w.r.t the seabed, with an error limit of
0.1 %.
• If a sonar beam is transmitted ahead of the vsl, the
reflected energy wave will have suffered a frequency
shift, depending upon;
- the transmitted frequency
- velocity of the sonar energy wave
- velocity of the transmitter( the ship)
Diagram ===
Doppler log
• Operation of log is based on the principle of
Doppler effect
• Transducer emits continuous beam of sound,
same bounce back and received by the
transducer. Difference between the Txd and Rxd
signals is measured and is proportional to the
speed of the ship
• When signal bounces of the seabed( Bottom
tracking),speed will be in relation to seabed(SOG)
• When bounced off water layer ( Water tracking),
speed will be speed over water
Doppler Speed Log
• A sonar beam is transmitted from the bow of
a moving vessel, and its reflected echo from a
target is received to display a frequency shift
from the transmitted frequency.
• This frequency shift is known as the “Doppler
Shift” and it is proportional to the speed of
the vessel.
• This principle is employed to calculate the
speed of a moving vessel
Doppler Effect
• The Doppler system normally measures speed
over ground to about 600 feet.
• After this depth, signals may be returned by a
dense, colder layer of water located throughout
the oceans called the deep scattering layer (DSL).
• Signals received off the DSL are not as accurate
as signals received from bottom reflections but
can still be used to provide an indication of speed
through the water instead of SOG when bottom
• Units may have a manual or automatic system
which will switch from bottom tracking to water
tracking at increased depth.
Doppler log

• Doppler speed logs work on the principle of the

Doppler effect, which is a shift in frequency between a
transmitted signal and a received signal caused by the
motion of a vessel over the sea bottom.
• A transducer broadcasts a continuous beam of sound
vibrations at about a 60-degree angle from the keel.
• A second transducer receives the diffusely reflected
signal returning from the seabed.
• Unlike the fathometer, which times the returning
signal, the Doppler speed log registers the change in
frequency between the transmitted signal and the
received signal and then calculates the velocity of the
vessel based on the amount of the frequency shift.
• frequency shift(in hertz) of the returned wave is;
fd = ft – fr ft = txd wave freq
fr = rxd wave freq
Doppler shift formula : v = ship’s velocity
fd =2v ft /c c = vel of sound wave in SW

wave txd at 60 deg to horizontal, so abv formula becomes;

fd = 2v ft cos 60 /c = v ft / c

In dual axis transducers; the formula becomes’

fd = 2v ft (cos 60 + cos 60) / c
= 2 v ft ( 1 ) / c

( hence transmission angle can be ignored)

Doppler Log
• There are several differences between Doppler beams and fathometer
beams. Doppler beams are continuous, narrower (about 3 degrees in
width), and higher in frequency.
• In addition to the transducer set facing forward, there is a second
transducer set facing aft. This is called a Janus configuration (named for
the two-faced Greek god) and allows the system to calculate frequency
shift in two directions thus insuring a more accurate speed
• The placing of the Janus configuration in a fore and aft direction is
known as a single axis system and is used to calculate speed over ground
in the forward and after direction.
• A dual axis system places a second grouping of Janus configured
transducers in an athwartships direction allowing for the calculation of a
vessel's speed when moving sideways through the water, as in docking.
• The beam width of the athwart ship installation is about 8 degrees to
account for the possibility of a vessel's rolling.
• Most accurate of all types of logs and useful for normal navigation as
well as for berthing and in confined waters
Janus Configuration
Janus Configuration
Doppler Speed Log

• JANUS configuration:
In practice, the ship has some vertical motion and
this causes a problem in measurement of Doppler
shift. This is overcome by installing two transducers,
one transmitting in the forward direction and the
other in the aft direction at the same angle. This
arrangement is known as Janus configuration.
By measuring the two Doppler shift frequencies, the
vertical component will cancel out while the
horizontal will add. Thus the speed of the ship can be
Doppler Speed Log

• The placing of the Janus configuration in a fore

and aft direction is known as a single axis system
and is used to calculate speed over ground in the
forward and after direction.

• Athwartship Speed
• Doppler log on ground track mode can provide
athwartship speed
- for this purpose a similar Janus configuration
is used on the port and starboard sides.
Doppler Speed Log

• A dual axis system places a second grouping

of Janus configured transducers in
an athwartships direction allowing for the
calculation of a vessel's speed when moving
sideways through the water, as in docking.
• The beam width of the athwartship
installation is about 8 degrees to account for
the possibility of vessel's rolling.
There are primarily five errors to be aware of when using the Doppler system:

• Transducer orientation error caused when the pitching or rolling of the vessel
becomes excessive.
Should make a perfect angle of 60 degrees w.r.t the keel. In modern transducers,
the angle at which the acoustic beam is transmitted is controlled with the help of
phase difference.

• Vessel motion error caused by excessive vibration of the vessel as it moves

through the water
• Velocity of sound errors due to changes in water temperature or density due to
salinity and particle content .
To compensate for Temperature variation, a thermistor is mounted near
the transducer and temperature changes accounted for..
• Signal loss errors caused by attenuation of the vibrations during transit through
the water or upon reflection from the bottom.
• Error in oscillator frequency:
The frequency generated should be accurate and constant.
Environmental factors can introduce errors in any system that relies its operation on
the txn and recptn of acoustic waves in salt water;
• Water Clarity: purity of seawater may lead to insufficient scattering and prevent
adequate signal return ( suspended particles and micro organisms in SW does
scatter the acoustic beam)
• Aeration : air bubbles beneath the transducer may reflect the beam sufficiently
,and interpreted erroneously as valid echoes leading to wrong depths and speed.
• Trim and List : trim more than the calibrated normal will affect the fore n aft
speed and excessive list will affect the athwartship speed. Janus configured
transducer is a solution
• Ocean current profile : effect prevalent in areas with strong tides or ocean
currents. If various layers of water move in different dirns then it will affect
speed measurements while in water track mode
• Ocean eddy currents : ocean currents produce eddies. More noticed in restricted
waters with large tidal changes or in river mouths
• Sea state : following seas may result inchange in speed in fore/aft and/or
port/stbd line based upon the vector sum of approaching sea relative to ship’s
• Temperature profile : temperature affects the velocity of acoustic wave. Temp
sensors generally included to produce corrective data
• Acoustic Doppler speed logs are common on ships, giving
a relatively accurate measure of the speed of the ship
through the water.
• For research applications, if the ship's speed is tracked
very precisely using, say, GPS navigation, then this
component can be subtracted from the speed of the ship
relative to the water to yield the speed of the water
relative to the GPS navigation, and hence provide a
measure of current speeds.
• Acoustic Doppler current profilers are also moored in the
ocean to provide long-term records of current speeds.
• SDME: Speed and Distance measuring Equipment

• Log Speeds are affected by current and tidal streams.

• Speed through the Water measured by:.

Patent Log: towed astern of the ship.

Bottom Log: can be withdrawn into the ships hull

Impeller Log: Impeller fitted in a tube.

More accurate than towed log
• Pressure tube or Pitot type Log:
Dynamic tube and Static tube
Difference in pressure converted to electrical
signals and proportional to speed.

• Electromagnetic Log:
Induced EMF measured by sensors, proportional
to ship speed.Sea water is the conductor
Doppler Speed Log

• Bottom track / Ground track:

The calculation of speed using the reflected
sound wave from sea bed is unaffected by set
and drift. Usually limited to a depth of 200
mtrs. Beyond this depth, the echoes become
very weak and are insufficient for Doppler
shift calculation.
Doppler Speed Log
Water Track:
When the ship moves at high seas at the usual sea speed, it
carries some mass of surrounding water with it, thereby
providing a distinct layer of water between 10 and
30mtrs below the keel (this depth depends on draft and
speed of vessel).
• Below this depth the water is still and hence there is a distinct
separation between the two layers of water which provide the
echoing surface to the acoustic waves. These echoes are
stronger than the echoes coming from depths over 200 mtrs.
• Using these echoes give us speed over water , referred to as
water track and does not allow for set and drift.
• The speed worked out does not depend on the depth from
which the echoes are received.
Doppler Speed Log
By using Janus configuration, this effect is nullified and any
vertical movement has got no effect on the speed indicated.

The trim of the vessel has no effect on athwartship speed
and has very little effect on fore and aft speed.

• Actual speed = indicated speed / Cos B(angle of trim)

• The speed difference is only in the 3rd and 4th decimal places
and negligible.
Doppler Speed Log

• The effect of pitching is similar to a vessel with
trim changing continuously. When pitching, the
indicated speed will fluctuate between actual
speed and a value lower than the actual speed
depending on the angle at which it is pitching.

• Pitching does not affect athwartships speed.

Doppler Speed Log

Effect of list on athwartship speed will be the same as the

effect of trim on the fwd and aft speed i.e.

Actual speed (ath)= Indicated Speed(ath) / Cos list angle.

• This is irrespective of the side to which the ship is listed.

When the vessel is rolling the indicated athwartship speed
will fluctuate.
• List and rolling do not effect the fore and aft speed.
Doppler Speed Log
• Errors due to ship’s motion
Using Janus configuration, this error tends to
cancel out. For a 2 deg difference, the net effect
will be an error of 0.10% of the indicated speed.

• Effect of rolling and pitching

Actual speed = Indicated speed / Cos B.

• Inaccuracy of measurement of comparison

Doppler Speed Log

• Error due to side Lobe:

when the side lobe reception dominates over the
main beam reception, there will be an error.
More pronounced on a sloping sea bottom.
Cannot be eliminated with Janus configuration. To
reduce this error, the beam width of transmitted
wave is reduced. However a minimum beam
width of 4 to 6 degs is required.
Doppler Speed Log

Doppler Log for BERTHING:

• Either two sets of athwartship transducers or one

athwartship transducer coupled with ROT

• Distance moved by the bow/stern will be calculated

by the ROT angle. This can be used to indicate
instantaneous speeds only and is not applicable
when angles and distances involved are large.
The two most common methods of calibration are:-

 Comparing the unit’s speed with a GPS giving speed over ground. This must
be done under conditions of slack tide and negligible currents. Dividing the
GPS speed by the display unit speed and multiplying by 100 will give the
percentage calibration required.

 Scale calibration: done during sea trial, against a measured distance.

Measuring a known distance, twice in opposite directions (to cancel the effect
of currents and tides), and comparing the measured distance on the display unit
to the known distance. Again, dividing the known distance by the display unit
measured distance and multiplying by 100 will give the percentage calibration
e.g; if the known distance was 5 miles and the measured
distance was 4 miles, the calibration would be 5 divided by 4 (which equals
1.25) and then multiplying by 100 which gives 125% (25% increase)

 Zero on scale : while ship is berthed, when SOG is zero

Routine maintenance
• When in dry docks carry out visual inspections of the
transducers for any damages or sea growth that can
cover the surface.
• The gate valves and housings of the transducers
should be checked for any water leaks.
• Make sure that the surfaces of the transducers are
protected during sand/grit blasting of the vessel’s
hull/bottom. Also, they should be covered during
• Do not forget to make a final visual inspection,
before undocking, to ensure that the surface of all
transducers are clean and free from any obstructions.
Speed Over the Ground(SOG) v/s Speed through water

• It is important to realise that the speed through the water will always be different to the speed over
the ground if there is a tidal stream.
• This is easy to imagine if the tide is travelling directly with or against the boat, but not so simple
when it is travelling at right angles to it.

• In each of the flwg diagrams, the boat travelled 5.0M through the water.
- In the first, the tide is directly against the boat, so the boat only covers 3.0M
over the ground.
- in the second example the vessel would cover 7.0M over the ground.
- In the third, the boat covers 5.3M over the ground-but in a different direction.
• The distance travelled over the ground is the distance made good.
• If it took one hour to make the passage;
- the boat's SOG in the 1st case would be 3.0kn,
- and in the 2nd case the boat's SOG is 7.0kn.
- whilst its water speed was 5.0kn in both cases
• In the last example the boat's speed over the ground would be 5.3kn and its water speed would still
be 5.0kn.
• The direction the vessel travelled over the ground is the ground track. This is always marked with
two arrows and usually given as a true bearing.