Research Vessel V.F.G. Walton Smith

The Rosenstiel School's primary research vessel is the F.G. WALTON SMITH, named in honor of the School's founder. The Smith, which was designed to the school's specifications, was built in 1999 and placed in service in February, 2000.

The state-of-the-art 96-foot-long catamaran is capable of reaching speeds of over 9 knots and has a draft of only 7 feet. This shallow draft enables it to explore heretofore inaccessible areas such as reefs, mangroves, grassbeds, and other shallow environments. The vessel accommodates 20 people in its ten two-person staterooms and encompasses 800 square feet of laboratory space, as well as an additional 800 square feet of multi-use space astern. Constructed by Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City, Florida, the catamaran boasts twin Cummins engines at 760 hp each, Servogear variable pitch propellers, a 3,000-gallon tank of fresh water plus a reverse osmosis water maker, and 10,000 gallons of fuel storage.

The vessel also has the capability of dynamic positioning for precise station keeping, using bow thrusters, controllable pitch propellers, and independent rudders. Other specialized instruments include a transducer suite that includes ADCP transducers for measuring ocean currents; a moon pool between the hulls for drilling or coring operations; and a notched stern to facilitate maneuvering equipment into the water using the A-frame.
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