How to improve visibility when surfacing


One of the challenges I’ve noticed in NJ waters is being able to visually see when an ROV is surfacing in 2-4 foot chop. The importance of this is making sure you’re not surfacing into the bottom of you boat hull, and once on the surface being able to quickly recover the ROV.

With the BlueROV2 I was thinking of two options that could help. First, is to paint the plastic buoyancy foam covers a bright yellow (I’d hate to deface my brand new machine), but this would be of help in choppy dark seas.

The other is a bit more elegant, and would be the addition of a yellow strobe that could be activated through the controls when surfacing. (battery powered strobes are often used on life vests for a man overboard situation).

A bright yellow one on the upperframe of the BlueROV2 might work, though I believe they would need to be in some sort of enclosure to stay waterproof at depth.



Hi Tony,

KevinK on this forum painted his fairly bright yellow and they look really good. You might want to try that. The strobe could definitely be added. I’m not sure of the best way to control turning it on and off, but you might be able to attach it to one of the PWM outputs and turn on a relay. I haven’t done that myself.

I’m sure others may have good suggestions too.


This is what it will look like with Tamiya spray paint for polycarbonate. PS-6 was the color used. It’s a bit of a flat yellow so it’s not too annoying when sitting on a desk, but you’ll still be able to see it in the water.

Good idea with the strobe, a bunch of UUVs use them.

Surface GPS might also help you out so you know where it is in relation to you when it pops up. I’ll work on a tutorial tonight on how I did my in-hull mods.

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@Rusty, I’m not familiar wit the control interface, is it easy to add a button to control a PWM output?

@Kevin, Wow that looks great! Are you happy with the finish durability or does it scratch off easily? I will do the same, glad someone else tried it before me lolz :wink:


ArduSub is set up with joystick buttons for two independent sets of lights. You can use the second one to control you strobe light. You’d need a PWM controlled relay but I’m sure that exists somewhere in the RC world.


I’m very happy with the finish, it has survived a weekend on a boat without scratches. The side frame panels do a pretty good job of protecting it as well.