Inspection of Underwater Structures: Why You Must Keep This Top of Mind

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F&V’s highly-trained dive team answers the question of what cannot be seen below the surface of the water. We’re experts at structural inspections and endangered species surveys for bridges and a variety of other underwater structures. Each underwater inspection is unique and thoughtfully planned out according to the requirements of the job. We can help with your underwater inspection and survey project.

Underwater Inspections You Can Trust

Often, structures we can’t see like bridge supports under the water, much like utilities hidden below ground, are forgotten about it. If it can’t be seen, it can’t matter – and that is a wrong and dangerous approach to underground and below water infrastructure. These structures are likely more critical than is realized.

Bridges transport people via cars, bicycles, and pedestrians over the water; what if that bridge collapsed while you crossing over it? It’d likely be fatal – and it could be prevented with routine inspections. Just because one can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t deteriorating from elements in the water and the environment, its age, overcapacity usages, or a variety of reasons. This deterioration needs to be inspected on a routine basis to detect early, maintain it, and minimize issues before disaster strikes.

Other benefits of routine underwater inspection include cost savings and compliance with the National Bridge Inventory (NBI).

Experienced Inspection Divers 

F&V staff boast a plethora of credentials, along with active participation in continued-educational training and industry organizations, including:

  • National Highway Institute (NHI) Bridge Inspectors
  • Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Qualified Team Leaders (QTLs)
  • Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI) members
  • Association of Diving Contractors Educators (ADCE) members
  • Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) members

Additionally, our staff are certified and trained in several safety procedures and equipment:

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
  • First Aid
  • Emergency Oxygen Administration

Underwater Structures We Inspect

We inspect a variety of bridges and underwater structures for various reasons.


Underwater bridge inspections are required for all bridges listed in the National Bridge Inventory (NBI) every five years. Inspections help us inform the client of the conditions and potential defects and required improvements of their bridge. Benefits include compliance with the National Bridge Inspection Standards (NBIS), and improved capital improvement plans for bridge assets.

A full description of how we approach underwater dive for bridges can be found on our services page.

Seawalls and Piers

F&V assists communities, private residents, and businesses with safe, cost-effective, and low-maintenance solutions for high water, flooding, and erosion issues related to seawalls and piers.

Our approach is to physically examine your infrastructure asset and become familiar with your issues and concerns. We then provide a topographic survey of the shoreline, including the lakebed, water surface elevation, and existing land structures. We’ll develop a plan to fix the problem, which may include structures such as sheet piling or stone revetments.

We can also assist you with getting the proper permitting through the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and local governments.

Why Use F&V for Underwater Inspections?

When it comes to infrastructure you can’t see, you have to find experts, like F&V, who are trained, certified, experienced, and continuously learning more about the underwater dive industry and related compliance regulations. Our divers also have an engineering background, several of which are Professionally Licensed Engineers (PE), gives them a great understanding of identifying defects and solutions to fix and maintain. They also understand planning for budgeting purposes.

Previous Underwater Surveys 

F&V has performed underwater dives across Michigan for cities, townships, and county road commissions. Check out our experience in action:

Underwater Bridge Safety Inspections – Road Commission of Kalamazoo County

Underwater Bridge Inspections – St. Clair County Road Commission

Underwater Dive Inspection – City of Belding

Schedule an Underwater Structural Inspection

When was the last time your bridge or underwater structure was inspected? Unsure or fear an issue is rising, give our experts a call to inspect and protect your infrastructure.