Marine noise and vibration

ISVR Consulting has a wealth of experience in dealing with noise and vibration problems in the marine sector. We provide advice on projects at the design stage as well as for existing ships and yachts that require investigation and remediation for noise and vibration.



Marine turbine tower

A marine turbine tower

The University of Southampton is a centre of excellence for a diverse range of marine and maritime activity, with ISVR Consulting providing consultancy and applied research in all aspects of noise and vibration.  Our specialist knowledge of the marine sector is complemented by extensive experience of engine, transmission and powertrain noise and vibration gained from the automotive industry. 

We have close links with the Wolfson Unit for Marine Technology and Industrial Aerodynamics , who can provide additional advice on hull design and propulsion systems.  We can also draw on the expertise of academic staff at the University in fields of underwater acoustics and dynamics.  

We provide advice at all stages of a project, including:  

  1. Sea trials - commissioning measurements and investigations of problems  
  2. Design and optimisation - detailed advice based on our experience and advanced capabilities in modelling and measurement  
  3. Environmental noise - including measurement and assessment of noise affecting passengers, communities and wildlife
  4. Occupational noise and vibration exposures of crew members


Sea trials

Measuring noise from a speedboat

Measuring noise from a speedboat

Hovercraft trials

Hovercraft trials

We have the skills, expertise and equipment necessary to take part in sea trials to verify compliance with regulations and design targets, carrying out calibrated noise and vibration measurements around the vessel. Besides measuring in machinery spaces and accommodation on board, we can also measure airborne or underwater noise at external locations.  We also perform sound insulation testing to check that suitable levels of privacy are being achieved and can verify the audibility and intelligibility of public address and voice alarm systems.


Where we identify noise or vibration issues, we use our experience and equipment to investigate the causes, and work closely with our clients to provide practical solutions.



SEA model of a tanker

SEA model of a tanker

We work on the design of various components for the marine sector.  Our investigations can range from basic acoustic calculations to detailed numerical models of a structure.

Our extensive experience of working with ship designers enables us to quickly suggest and explore design changes with clients, based on knowledge gained from previous investigations and a familiarity with industry practice.

Where basic modelling is required, we use analytical and empirical models to further inform the design.  For detailed modelling we have a number of numerical modelling techniques that we can use, including Statistical Energy Analysis, Finite Element Analysis and Boundary Element Analysis.  These methods bring significant advantages for optimising designs for noise/vibration performance.



Environmental noise

In some scenarios noise and vibration can be significant enough that protection may be required.  We are experienced in undertaking workplace noise and vibration assessments, and can provide the advice that may be required to reduce exposure from machinery and tools.

Noise from watercraft can cause a nuisance, particularly around harbours and marinas.  We provide environmental noise assessments that may be required for vessel commissioning, or as part of planning applications or public inquiries, for example for port expansions.

Environmental noise does not just affect those above the water but also marine wildlife beneath the surface.  We are able to measure and predict underwater noise levels and provide design advice on reducing the impact of vessels and structures.

In order for passengers to travel in comfort it is important that noise and vibration levels are not too high.  Acceptable levels are dependent on context; a luxury yacht owner would typically require lower noise levels than a commercial ship operator.  We can advise on appropriate noise and vibration limits, and provide the testing and design advice required for these to be met.