Sea Discovery


NOAA 4-Year Vessel Acquisition Plan


The speed and reliability of two new survey launches carried by the NOAA hydrographic survey ship Rainier have improved overall survey efficiency and safety levels, according to NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.
NOAA received the second of two identical launches built by All American Marine of Bellingham, Wash., earlier this year. The new 28-ft. aluminum-hulled boats replaced launches that were in service for more than 30 years conducting hydrographic survey operations along the Alaskan and West coasts.
The new launches can travel at speeds up to 26 knots, more than twice the speed of the vessels they replaced, drastically reducing the travel time to the work grounds. Their improved reliability has greatly reduced mechanical and electrical downtime while updated electronics and new multibeam sonar systems acquire data at nearly twice the density of the older systems. Additionally the launches are more comfortable for the personnel operating the vessels.
The design of the new launch is based on an evolution of the original hull form designed for NOAA in 1975 and was updated by Jensen Maritime Architects. This proven design features sturdy construction and a full keel for survey work in poorly charted waters. Design updates include an open working deck and 200 lb. capacity A-frame that can mount a wide variety of equipment.
The propulsion package consists of a Cummins QSC 8.3 liter 490-hp engine turning a 25”x26” ZF propeller through a ZF 305 gear. Cruising speed is 24 knots and typical survey speeds are approximately eight knots.
The multi-mission designed boats are equipped with a state-of-the-art hydrographic surveying suite, including dual frequency Reson 7125 multibeam sonar, Applanix POS MV positioning and attitude sensor, and a Brooke Ocean MVP-30 moving vessel profiler. NOAA installed and integrated the survey systems before putting both boats into operational use.
NOAA intends to replace the aging fleet of survey launches with six to eight additional vessels purchased over the next four years.


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