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Research Vessels

Boats powered by bio-diesel fuel

An integral part of GLERL research is vessel operations. Since the laboratory was formed in 1974, GLERL has made many important scientific contributions to the understanding and management of the Great Lakes and other coastal ecosystems. A significant portion of GLERL research relies on field sampling. The work done from GLERL research vessels varies broadly from deployment of large moored devices to intensive sampling across transects and supporting large, multi-agency projects. The GLERL fleet is currently comprised of 3 large vessels and 6 small boats. The large research vessels, R/V Laurentian and R/V Huron Explorer, offer heavy duty winches and cranes, laboratory facilities, galleys, and sleeping quarters for both boat and science crew. The large vessels utilize state of the art navigation and communications equipment for the safety and security of deep water vessel operations. The small vessels are used for light duty field work such as nearshore sampling and buoy repair. The small vessels include: the R/V Cyclops, the 1102, and four Boston Whalers.

The Lake Michigan Field Station serves as home port for all of GLERL's research vessels throughout the Great Lakes. NOAA is committed to innovative ways to improve operations and to stewardship of the environment that we research.

Committed to playing a leadership role in environmental stewardship, GLERL's three large research vessels have operated petroleum-free since April 2006. They were the first ships in the U.S. fleet to operate without the use of petroleum products. The ships use 100 percent soy biodiesel for engine fuel, canola-based motor oil, and rapeseed-based hydraulic oil for its deck crane, winches, transmission, and steering gear. The change to non-petroleum products results in operating improvements as well as dramatic reductions in emissions. The biodegradable vegetable oils also offer an additional level of environmental protection in case of a spill or leak.

R/V Laurentian R/V Huron Explorer R/V Cyclops
R/V Laurentian R/V Huron Explorer Other Vessels

NOAA Small Boat Program*

*Link lead off GLERL's website.