Regional Class Research Vessels – Modern Ships for Ocean Science


Seventy percent of the earth is covered by the ocean and the ocean interacts with the atmosphere and the land. Those interactions control the the world we live in. Some of the most important questions facing society include climate change, the future of food supply, sea level rise, geohazards such as earthquakes and volcanos along coastlines. It’s very important to understand the basic scientific underpinnings of all these different processes. Being able to go out to the ocean and make observations is the most critical component of oceanography and it’s going to rely on new vessels with new capabilities to use the ship efficiently and gain the maximum benefit for the most people when we were approached by Oregon State one of their key objectives was to make this is as green a ship as possible. We’ve gone to great lengths to incorporate the latest technologies into the ship to keep it as environmentally friendly as we can. We decided to use variable speed alternators to make electricity. We’ve also used to LED lighting wherever possible we’re using waste heat so the heat from the engines will use that to heat domestic water and actually make potable water for the ship. The design of the ship is very very important to the efficiency of the show and so we went to great lengths to make this is a low resistance hull we could in keeping with the desires of the scientists to have bubble sweep down minimize for the performance of their instrumentation. Part of the design has been to incorporate a U-Tube antiroll tank and so that means the vessel and operate in more challenging environments and a lot of our coastal environments you see some pretty severe weather conditions and you know we like to be able to investigate ocean processes under all conditions not just on a sunny day. We’ve got a double articulating A frame which will allow the vessel to pick up pretty large packages. The launch and recovery system will be designed so that it can put the CTD almost down to the water level. They have a center board where they can change out some of their transducers. They also have a pretty extensive transducer array. There’s always been in this project a drive to collect as much data as possible and as continuously as possible. Data presence is providing real-time data to enable virtual participation to researchers and stakeholders on the shore. So we’ve got a team assembled that are developing the technologies to enable this and in terms of moving forward in the 21st century that’s very exciting that’s where we need to be. The layout was designed to balance people’s habitable enjoyment versus the practical requirements of while their at sea and every detail on these ships has been scrutinized against the practicality being underway of doing science at sea, so we put a lot of thought into creature comforts and habitability issues making sure that they ride well making them places that people want to be. I really am passionate about what it is to be on a research vessel. It’s a really special opportunity for a scientist, not only to do your science but to be in a community at sea I would hate to lose that. If we’re really going to understand and answer questions about our future. How we can leave to our children and our children’s children a better planet where food supply is more constant, where people can have clean water, where plants can grow, we really need to understand what’s going on in the oceans.

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