Regional Class Research Vessel (RCRV)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is building three new Regional Class Research Vessels (RCRV) to add to the United States Academic Research Fleet (ARF). The RCRVs are state-of-the-art research vessels with more modern technology and abilities than their predecessors.  Each vessel is a cutting-edge platform designed to help scientists and educators obeserve and understand a complex range of oceanic phonomena.

All three vessels are being built in Terrebonne Parish at Gulf Island Fabrication in Houma, Louisiana. The first two RCRVs have been awarded to Oregon State University (West Coast) and the University of Rhode Island (East Coast).  The third vessel will be operated by the Gulf-Caribbean Oceanographic Consortium (GCOC) co-led by LUMCON and the University of Southern Mississippi (USM).  This vessel is slated to be completed in 2023 and will become fully operational after a year of rigorous sea trials.  The awarding of this vessel to GCOC will substantially increase the capability of groups to conduct oceanographic research throughout the entire Gulf of Mexico.

All three RCRVs will be 199 feet in length and capable of taking a complement of 29 crew and scientists to sea for 21 days. They will be fully equipped to complete ocean crossings and operate in light ice.  Science systems include a suite of advanced over-the-side handling equipment, acoustic multibeam bottom mapping and other SONAR systems, interfaces for specialized laboratory vans, a unique piston coring launch and recovery apparatus, and onboard telecommunications and networking instrumentation to create a “datapresence” capability allowing the collection, processing and sharing of a multitude of environmental data with shore-based researchers and educators in real-time.

Gulf-Caribbean Oceanographic Consortium Mission and Vision Statements:

Mission: Provide Support, infrastructure, facilities, expertise and staff to operate a RCRV to conduct oceanographic research, education and outreach across the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

Vision:  A national leader for scientifically and societally relevant oceanographic research and interdisciplinary collaboration through use of a RCRV in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

Gulf-Caribbean Oceanographic Consortium Associate Member Insitutions:

• Texas A&M University (College Station, Galveston and Corpus Christi)
• University of Texas Marine Science Institute
• Lamar University
• Louisiana State University
• Tulane University
• Dauphin Island Sea Lab
• University of Miami
• Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution of Florida Atlantic University
• University of Puerto Rico
• University of the Virgin Islands
• Florida State University
• University of South Florida
• University of Georgia
• and the Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada.

Watch as the RCRV Taani (the first of the three RCRVs) is built.
Oregon State University has installed 3 cameras at Gulf Island Fabrication and are steaming live to YouTube.

Click on the bottons below to watch the construction.