Oceanographic Sting Penetrometer Specs

Highly Accurate Bearing Strength Measurement in a Versatile, Portable Package

We sell this as a custom made system.  Email us at isoutar@gmail.com

STING is a self-contained, tethered probe with a streamlined body and a long (up to three meters), slender steel shaft protruding from the nose cone. It is designed to be simple and fast in operation; a typical survey event can be accomplished and a basic analysis completed in less than 30 minutes. The STING Mk II can be used off vessels ranging in size from a large dinghy to a major naval or survey vessel. The only vessel requirements are a laptop or desktop PC computer and room for the operator to store the line that is hauled in.

The operation of the STING Mk II is designed so that first time users may operate the system with minimal instruction. The unit is released from a vessel so that it drops freely through the water and impacts into the sea floor vertically with its calibrated shaft and foot. Internal microprocessor-based electronics record the deceleration as the shaft embeds itself into the layers of the bottom sediment. Since a typical seabed impact event lasts under a second, it is possible to commit multiple impacts to the built-in memory bank. Successive drops can be performed during a single deployment by simply raising the probe several meters off the bottom. After the unit is brought back to the surface the data is downloaded to a PC workstation. Sophisticated analysis software, included with the probe, determines various kinematic parameters for each impact event and computes an estimate of the seabed bearing strength profile. The data obtained are presented in the format of bearing strength versus penetration depth. This data also gives an indication of the strata of the sediment. The data may be exported into any tabbed-ASCII format program, such as Microsoft Excel.

Usable in sediments ranging from very soft mud to medium density sand, the STING is customizable for each sediment type by changing the impact shaft and foot configuration. Four foot sizes are available, with the largest being used for very soft mud, and the smallest being used for sand. The shaft may be set up to penetrate one, two or three meters into the sediment, although full penetration may not be accomplished with the longer sizes in sand and other hard sediments.

Data acquisition can be initiated by water immersion or optionally by hydrostatic pressure level. The immersion (conductivity) switch starts the acquisition as soon as a pair of electrodes is shorted by the water. The conductivity trip point is menu driven and may be set for different salinity levels, including fresh water. Units may be programmed to start the data logging process at a predetermined water depth, thus economizing memory usage. The depth measurements may be recorded alongside the acceleration data if so desired.

STING was developed by the Canadian Department of National Defence with the technical collaboration of A.G.O. Environmental Electronics Ltd, who now manufactures the device under licence.


Acceleration measurement range:
0 G to +10 G
Acceleration measurement resolution:
0.0025 G (12 bits)

Load bearing strength measurement range:

0 to 950 kPa

Water depth measurement range:

0 m to 200 m

Water depth measurement resolution:

0.05 m (12 bits)

Maximum operational depth:

300 m

Maximum measurable depth of penetration:

3 m (with shaft extenders)

Sampling rate:

2 kHz

Data acquisition triggering:

Water immersion or preset
depth (0 m to 200 m)

Data collection autonomy (memory capacity):

approx. 4 minutes
(acceleration only), or 2 minutes (acceleration plus depth)

Download speed to computer:

115.2 kilobaud

Download time:

approximately 4 minutes

Shaft length:

1 m standard, extendable
to 3 m with additional segments

Impact foot diameters:

25 mm, 35 mm, 50 mm
(stainless steel), 70 mm (aluminum)

Probe materials:

304 stainless steel body,
hard-anodized aluminium end cap, PVC tail cone

Recommended tether (retrieval cord):

4.8 mm diameter braid,
type SC-6


approx. 10 kg with 1 m
shaft length, 3 kg for each additional 1m extension


Internal battery,
rechargeable (adapter included)
Communications and Data
Analysis. Runs under Windows 98, NT 4.0, 2000 and XP