Welcome aboard! Thank you for visiting this new website dedicated to the field of Side Scan Sonar.

What is a Side Scan Sonar?

It is a specialized kind of technology that has revolutionized the field of ocean exploration. Its commercial introduction in the mid-1960s helped create a new industry along with many new jobs.

Sonar has been used to find countless shipwrecks. It has been used for many applications related to oil exploration and production. It helped to eliminate the dangerous and costly practice of wire-drag to help clear harbor areas. Its use in military operations such as mine clearance has helped to save lives.  It has found many applications in marine construction, dredging, harbor engineering, pipe and cable laying and fisheries.

The original source material for most of the items on this website are in the Martin Klein Collection at the MIT Museum.


Tambourine brought by Donald Rosencrantz in the submersible Asherah looking at an ancient ship off the coast of Bodrum, Turkey.

Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper looking at a Klein Side Scan Sonar record of the lost Franklin ship Erebus.

Cover of American Archaeology magazine showing the Klein Side Scan Sonar recording of the lost Franklin ship Erebus. Image by Parks Canada.

Klein 7180 Side Scan Sonar Long-Range sonar designed by Lloyd Huff and Peter Runciman

Klein Model MK-300 Side Scan Sonar in the Gulf of Mexico. One of these towfish resides at the MIT Museum and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

Klein Side Scan Sonar of HMS Edinburgh made by Decca Survey.

Westinghouse high frequency towed side scan sonar.

Klein Associates deep water SMARTFISH with side scan sonar and sub-bottom profiler.

Klein Side Scan Sonar of Hamilton, one of the sunken ships in Lake Ontario from the War of 1812. Record made by Ken Macmillan and Dan Nelson of the Canada Centre for Inland Waters.

Custom side scan sonar, bottom looking sonar and long baseline acoustic navigation built by a team headed by Martin Klein for the search for the lost submarine Thresher.

Deep Klein Side Scan Sonar, the first contact on the lost liner Titanic. For an expedition headed by Dr. Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanograhic Institution, a special deep Klein side scan sonar, operated by Klein engineer Terry Snyder, was mounted on the deep water-towed apparatus—ARGO. ARGO was also equipped with underwater television,lights, and other technical gear. In the middle of the night the sonar picked up signs of a debris field and captain Richard Bowen was notified to steer the ship in the direction of the debris.

One side of the Klein Side Scan Sonar mounted on the WHOI ARGO vehicle for the Titanic search.

Martin Klein aboard WHOI Ship Knorr with the ARGO towed vehicle containing the deep Klein Side Scan Sonar that helped find Titanic.

Klein Associate Model SD-350A Side Scan Sonar Transceiver used a Hewlett-Packard variable-persistence oscilloscope fir the display - first unit to not need a mechanical recorder.

1967 cover of Sea Technology with mechanical engineer Phil Scola looking at the prototype E.G.& G. single channel side scan sonar in a test tank.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography side scan sonar designed by Maurice MacGeehee and Dwight (Tony) Boegemann.

Klein Associates first side scan sonar/sub-bottom profiler modular kit for mounting on human occupied submersibles, remote operated vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles. Klein introduced this technology that is now ubiquitous on these vehicles.

Martin Klein, founder of Klein Associates with a Klein Side Scan Sonar by one of the large test tanks at the company.

Book "How we Found the Mary Rose" by Alexander McGee.

Martin Klein and Professor Harold "Doc" Edgerton testing the Mud Penetrator on the Charles River in Cambridge.

Martin Klein aboard former wire-drag NOAA vessel RUDE with the Klein Side Scan Sonar that replaced wire drag.

A Klein 595 Side Scan Sonar was used in Lake George, New York to find the 1758 Land Tortoise radeau shipwreck. Image courtesy of Joseph Zarzynski and Bateaux Below.

Kelvin Hughes Transit Sonar, pole-mounted single-channel side scan sonar system believed to be the first commercial side scan sonar.

Fred Squires and Tom Ireland operating a Klein Side Scan Sonar from an inflatable Zodiac boat.

Klein Side Scan Sonar image of the HMS Breadalbane made by Garry Kozak in the high Arctic. Breadalbane was one of the ships sent to try to find the lost ships of the Franklin Expedition.

Large deep sea towfish with cameras, magnetometer and Hudson Laboratories aboard USS Mizar for use in the search for the lost Submarine Thresher.

Kelvin Hughes Fishermans Asdic

A Klein Side Scan Sonar used to survey the Ixtoc oil rig blowout in the Bay of Campeche 1979-80.

A dual pod 50kHz Klein Side Scan Sonar with independently adjustable tilt and variable vertical beam angle.

US Navy SQS-14 Side Scan Sonar Towfish

Waverley U.K. Side Scan Sonar system.

Wesmar Side Scan Sonar towfish with full variable tilt transducers.

Sonar Console C-Mk-1 Mode 0 Westinghouse Side Scan Sonar