Cutting vs. Jetting

General Mechanical Cutting vs. Jetting Pros and Cons:

Trenchers are generally self-propelled, and use either a mechanical cutting or water jetting technology for penetrating the seabed. Since the pros and cons regarding maneuverability are similar, we will look further at the pros and cons of the soil cutting technology when water jetting is compared to mechanical cutting.

Mechanical Cutting Pros: Mechanical Cutting Cons:
  • Can cut harder sea beds
  • Control of cutting rate
  • Completed in one pass


  • Cable is at greater risk of mechanical damage
  • Extreme caution needed around cable
  • Cable needs to be “loaded” into a protective cable highway on the vehicle
  • Must be done in one pass
  • Difficult to burry cable with slack, bends or loops
  • Generally slow to very slow rate of progress
  • Generally more expensive to buy/lease a system
  • Generally more expensive to operate and maintain


Jetting Pros: Jetting Cons:
  • Risk to cable minimized
  • Control of cutting force/rate
  • Can run multiple passes to improve burial
  • Jetting arms deploy over cable to capture
  • Can bury cable with slack, bends and loops
  • Adjustable nozzles and arm configurations to accommodate varying seabed conditions
  • Generally less expensive to buy/lease system
  • Generally less expensive to operate and maintain
  • Generally smaller in size using smaller ships


  • Limited to lower seabed soil strength than mechanical cutting
  • May require more than one pass



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