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Barges For Marine Archeology: 2 FAQs

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Barges are self-propelling or non-self-propelling water vessels that feature a flat bottom. They are used for the transportation of bulky goods across a water body. They're also used as mounting platforms for heavy construction equipment such as long-reach excavators used for underwater excavations and related construction activities.

This article provides answers to three questions about the use of barges for the benefit of future marine archeologists.

What Types Of Barges Are Available For Marine Archeological Excavations?

Barges are classified according to the purpose they serve when used in maritime activities. While several types of barges exist, not all of them may be useful to a marine archeologist. The liquid cargo barge, the crane barge, the dry bulk barge, the power barge and the barracks barge would be the most relevant for this group of professionals.

The dry bulk cargo barge is designed for the mass transportation of dry cargo. Examples of dry cargo include cereals and grains, coal, scrap metal, sand and gravel. The liquid cargo barge is used to transport liquefied cargo. Examples of liquefied cargo include petroleum and petroleum products, methanol and chemicals used for artifact preservation in archeology. 

Power barges feature at least one power plant mounted on the water vessel. The mounted power plants on this type of barge provide a source of electrical energy during marine archeological excavations.

The barracks barge can serve as the equivalent of home for marine archeologists. These barges come with a superstructure that can house marine archeologists and their support staff for days on end as they continue to undertake excavation-related activities.

What Are The Advantages Of Using Barges For Marine Transport?

These advantages include, but they're not limited to, the following:

  • Reduced pollution: Non-self-propelled barges are an eco-friendly means of marine transportation. These barges don't rely directly on fuel combustion for their operation. Thus, their use does not result in air and/or noise pollution.  
  • Fuel efficiency: Self-propelled barges rely on fuel combustion for their operation. However, their rate of fuel consumption is lower than that of other modes of transport. A self-propelled barge can be up to eight times more fuel efficient than a truck and more than twice as fuel efficient as rail transportation.

A large number of marine archeologists choose to lease barges from equipment rental agencies so as to avoid the direct costs associated with ownership of such equipment. This is in addition to the huge capital investment required for the initial acquisition of this water vessel. Contact a company that offers rental barges for more information about the type of work they can be used for.