We offer a new and exciting way to collect data in rivers, lakes, reservoirs and estuaries, which is safer, more efficient and improves data quality.

Remote controlled ARCboats (Acoustic Remote Control) are available to rent from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.  

Unlike crewed boats, ARCboats are operated from the bank rather than having to venture out onto the water, and so speed up data collection. Their extremely quiet, zero emission electric motors minimise disruption to the environment, and they are easy and enjoyable to use with excellent manoeuvrability.  They can take measurements safely in more locations and under a greater range of conditions from low to flood flow.

Rental, training and support

Rather than going to the expense of buying an ARCboat, we offer you the option of rental with the benefit of training and expert support from our hydrometric scientists, with whom you can discuss your specific requirements.

UKCEH’s ARCboats can be fitted with a variety of Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP) and other instruments to collect data, such as discharge, depth, bathymetry, water quality, flow and suspended sediment concentrations, and the high-accuracy GPS on-board allows detailed mapping.  

Used across the world, in environments from upland rivers and wide estuaries to industrial ponds, ARCboats are lightweight while being robust and reliable, and are easy to transport, fitting inside a medium-sized hatchback.

Remote-controlled ARCboat in use on the river Teme.

Nick Everard provides an introduction to the ARCboat and its capabilities.


The ARCboat can be equipped with:

  • a Sontek M9 Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) and differential GPS
  • a RDI Rio Grande ADCP and differential GPS 
  • a Single Beam Echo Sounder
  • multi-parameter water quality sondes (YSI EXO, for example).

A wide range of other instrumentation can be used as required, including all currently available ADCPs for river measurements.

Service options

We can provide the following:

  • Rental of the ARCboat
  • Rental of a variety of instrumentation, which can be fitted beforehand.
  • Training in use of the ARCboats and/or ADCP and instrumentation
  • A full package whereby we carry out the survey and collect the data on your behalf and provide you with a report interpreting the results.

Indicative prices are:

  • Rental of the ARCboat and instrumentation (excluding transport): £200 + VAT per day 
  • Training in use of the ARCboats and/or instrumentation:
  • The full package of survey and report - price on application.

There is a minimum hire period of three days. Terms and conditions apply.

Contact us

To make an enquiry or discuss your ideas and questions, please email solutions@ceh.ac.uk