SAFETY--Mandatory Use of Breakaway Sounding Reel Cable Kits
To: "A - Division Chief and Staff",
"B - Branch Chiefs and Offices",
"FO - State, District, Subdistrict and other Field Offices",
"PO - Project Offices"
From: "Catherine L Hill, ACH/Operations, Reston, VA "
Cc: " WRD Archive File, ",
"Catherine L Hill, ACH/Operations, Reston, VA ",
"William G Shope Jr., Chief, Br. of Oper. Support, Reston, VA ",
"Carole Nethaway, Secretary (OA), Reston, VA ",
"Alice C Dilandro, Secretary (S), Reston, VA "
Subject: WRD Memo No. 99.01--SAFETY--Mandatory Use of Breakaway Sounding
Reel Cable Kits
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1998 10:58:37 -0400
Sender: "Alice C Dilandro, Secretary (S), Reston, VA "
In Reply Refer To:
Mail Stop 405
October 21, 1998
WATER RESOURCES DIVISION MEMORANDUM NO. 99.01
Subject: SAFETY--Mandatory Use of Breakaway Sounding Reel Cable Kits
To help insure the safety of Water Resources Division (WRD) employees,
observers, and the public, WRD requires the installation of Breakaway
Sounding Reel Cable Kits to provide for the quick release of the cable
from its reel. Installations shall be completed for all affected reels
no later then April 1, 1999. Use of the breakaway device was recommended
in a March 16, 1998, memorandum from the Assistant Chief Hydrologist for
Operations. A-reels not equipped with a drag brake retrofit and A-pack
reels are exempt from this requirement. The drag brake retrofit for the
A-reel is available and may be ordered from the Hydrologic
Instrumentation Facility (HIF) warehouse. Use of this retrofit is highly
recommended. Because not all A-reels will be equipped with the breakaway
device, care should be taken in selecting the best reel for the task at
A recent boat accident, which resulted in loss of the boat and exposure
of the crew to a life threatening risk, could have been prevented with
the use of a breakaway cable design. The breakaway cable design for
sounding reels was developed for situations when debris could lodge on
the sounding weight (or other equipment) in the water and subject the
cable to an unmanageable force. Transfer of such a force to the reel
structure can cause damage, loss of equipment, and danger to anyone in
close proximity to the equipment.
The Instrumentation Technical Advisory Subcommittee has determined the
predetermined loads for a controlled or designed safe release of the
cable based on a reduced-diameter section of the cable (at the
point of attachment on the drum). The following overload release
limits are based on the size of the cable:
1-Cable Thickness 0.840 inches, release limit 250 lbs.
2-Cable Thickness 1.000 inch, release limit 500 lbs.
3-Cable Thickness 1.125 inch, release limit 500 lbs.
The Breakaway Sounding Reel Cable Kit (stock number 2302075) and a
technical information sheet is available for $3.00 from the HIF. With
the technical information sheet and the kit, WRD field personnel can
modify the sounding reel cable so that the cable will break at the
determined safe load. Technical information for the Breakaway Sounding
Reel Cable Kit can be found at the URL:
The drag brake retrofit for the A-reel (stock number 2302018) and
technical information sheet is available for $360 from the HIF.
Technical information for the drag brake retrofit kit can be found at the
Ordering information for the kits can be obtained from the HIF-CSS II
Manual or the One-Stop Shopping system. The manual and One-Stop Shopping
may be accessed form the HIF Home Page at the URL:
If you have questions regarding the use of the Sounding Reel Retrofit
Kits, please contact Mike Zalants at (228) 688-1572, or send email to
mzalants. If you have any questions concerning the A-Reel Drag Brake
Retrofit Kit, please contact Jim Jelinski at (228)688-1547 or
send email to jelinski.
Catherine L. Hill
Assistant Chief Hydrologist
This memorandum does not supersede any previous WRD memorandum.
Distribution: A, B, FO, PO