Posted tagged ‘navy dolphin’

Figuring Out the Boats and Other Dolphin Stuff

June 17, 2008

Yesterday some time was spent working on the “picture boat” situation (i.e. boats that will appear in the movie, as opposed to working boats that will be camera platforms, etc). The story involves depiction of elements of the US Navy’s Marine Mammal Program so we’re trying to “get it right” — correct boats, work uniforms, etc. First stop is the Navy’s official website for the program. It’s reasonably helpful and worth a visit. Have to say the logo they’ve developed is borderline silly — don’t mean that in a harsh way but what are they thinking. Here it is. But anyway, the site has some photos but it’s interesting — they don’t show much of the actual equipment that is used with the dolphins. The site identifies the areas in which the Navy uses its dolphins: Mine Hunting, Force Protection, Object Recovery, and fleet support — and has a map showing where the dolphins have been deploted around the world. Conscious that there is a good bit of criticism of the Navy for using Marine Mammals in this way, the site also includes discussion of Marine Mammal Health and Welfare, etc.

The one picture that is quite interesting is this one, which is widely available around the internet. In the movie we also intend to depict a Navy dolphin with a camera mounted …. one of the problems in doing this is that we can’t mount on on a pectoral fin, like that — the training issues are too extreme.

Instead, we will create a different mount using a vest that our dolphins at UNEXSO have already been trained to wear.  The one they’re used to wearing contains medical monitoring equipment as part of a medical sciences experiment that UNEXSO is sponsoring.  We will replace the monitoring equipment with a camera.

The Boats

We did manage to find some photos of specially rigged boats and smallcraft used by the Navy dolphin program.  Here are the three best ones. The first one shows a boat that has part of the gunwale removed so that the dolphin can be easily placed inside the boat for transport.  The second one is a modified large zodiac with a sling on board for transport.  And the third one shows another type of modification.

Based on these, we’re able to know pretty clearly what it is we’re looking for — and now we’re on the trail of finding it.  Also — you can see that these photos help with wardrobe issues as well, as they depict the Marine Mammal Program types at work.