Saildrone Fleet Surpasses 1M Nautical Miles, 32K Days at Sea

A fisheye view of a Saildrone in Arctic ice. Photo courtesy of Saildrone.

ALAMEDA, California—Saildrone announced its fleet of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) has surpassed a cumulative distance of 1 million nautical miles during more than 32,000 days at sea, deployed on missions around the globe.

Equivalent to circumnavigating the Earth 48 times, and almost 89 years at sea for a single vehicle, this achievement demonstrates the scale of Saildrone’s operations and the tireless efforts of its team to push the boundaries and capabilities of uncrewed systems, the company said.

The record was achieved exactly 10 years after the company’s first major milestone, when the very first Saildrone USV sailed from San Francisco to Hawaii in October 2013. The 2,200-nautical mile journey took just 34 days.

Over the past decade, Saildrone has pushed boundaries in the harshest environments on the planet, from the ice edge in the Arctic to the mountainous seas of the Southern Ocean, and even through a Category 4 hurricane. The Saildrone fleet now numbers 136 vehicles and consists of three different size variants.

“Evolving the Saildrone design, capabilities, and team has been an incredible journey,” said Saildrone founder and CEO Richard Jenkins. “This million-nautical-mile milestone is a huge achievement in a relatively short time frame. It underscores the reliability we have achieved and confirms our unique position as the only proven long-range, long-dwell USV.”

Powered primarily by renewable wind and solar energy, Saildrone USVs are equipped with state-of-the-science sensors that measure ocean environment parameters. From its origins in science and fisheries, Saildrone has expanded its capabilities to include ocean mapping, maritime security and defense applications.

Saildrone’s fleet is growing rapidly: The company is building one mid-size, 10-meter (33-foot) Voyager per week and one large-size, 20-meter (65-foot) Surveyor per month.