Dutch Navy divers map out underwater Simpsons Bay

Divers of the Royal Netherlands Navy on exercise in St Maarten since October 29 have mapped out Simpson Bay using advanced sonar. The results will benefit St Maarten’s emergency services in the hurricane season.


The main focus of the diving exercise in St Maarten is disaster relief. Referring to the exercise scenario, Master Chief Petty Officer Klaas van der Heide elaborates on the results. "We now have a complete view of the Simpson Bay lagoon under water. This will help us to find people lost at sea after a hurricane strike."


The Dutch Navy divers can cover an area of 10000 square miles per minute using advanced sonar equipment. Even shallow waters can be mapped out in great precision. Using ‘acoustical cameras’ divers were able to scan through the muddy waters of the shallow areas of the Simpson Bay, providing a clear picture of the entire lagoon. Divers also investigated and mapped out a wreck in the Simpson Bay approach.


The Dutch Navy divers are part of the Royal Netherlands Defence Forces Dive Group, specialised in safety and security under water. Next to expeditionary deployments around the world, divers assist Dutch emergency services on a regular basis. Providing a highly specialised underwater search and rescue capability, their national tasks range from recovering evidence used in criminal proceedings to the recovery of people lost underwater. To maintain their skill set, divers train and exercise worldwide under diverse climatic conditions.

In total 11 divers participate in the exercise in St Maarten. The exercise takes place under the auspices of the Commander Netherlands Forces in the Caribbean and is supported by the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard.