Vessels 2017-09-13T07:07:30+00:00


LUMCON operates and maintains one of the largest fleets of research vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. LUMCON’s world-class fleet is equally available to those within the state of Louisiana and abroad for research and education activities in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • The R/V Pelican is a 116 ft. research vessel intended for use on the continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Western Atlantic.
  • The R/V Acadiana is a 58 ft. vessel available for short trips offshore and extended cruises in Louisiana coastal bays, rivers, estuaries, and nearshore waters.
  • The R/V Point Sur, owned by the University of Southern Mississippi and operated by LUMCON, is a 135 ft. research vessel intended for use on the continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and Western Atlantic.
  • The small boats fleet can be used in the lakes, bays, and sounds of Louisiana. All vessels are trailerable and come with life-saving equipment and navigational electronics.
  • LUMCON also owns and operates oceanographic research equipment independent of our vessels that can be leased to qualifying organizations.

Click on the links in the list above or contact our Port Captain to learn more about LUMCON’s vessels and oceanographic resources and how you can use them.


LUMCON acquired its first research vessel, the R.J. Russell, from Louisiana State University in 1982. Cruises on the Russell were more than a little rocky, as Wayne Simoneaux, LUMCON Marine Center Superintendent, attested to firsthand. “We always came back with what we left the dock with personnel-wise… but not always equipment-wise,”said Simoneaux, who was hired in 1985 to work as a cook, engineer, and assistant captain on the Russell.

Steve Rabalais, LUMCON Director of Operations and Facilities, has his own memories about the ship. “The ship’s fiberglass was leaking and the plywood started rotting and growing mushrooms,” said Rabalais. “There was this huge bracket fungus growing in the wheel house,” Rabalais recalled, extending his arms to either side of his head to demonstrate its enormous size. “The Captain, Lee Black, called it his garden.”

While LUMCON’s employees were thankful for the Russell, they realized her limitations and their need for a larger, better-outfitted oceangoing vessel. Rabalais and LUMCON’s first Executive Director Don Boesch spent several years planning for this new ship. The R/V Pelican was built in 1985 at Allied Shipyard in LaRose, Louisiana with capital outlay funds provided by the State of Louisiana. When the 105-foot sparkling blue-and-white R/V Pelican turned the bend and sailed into LUMCON’s harbor in May 1985, it was greeted with great celebration. “When the Pelican came in, we all came out of the trailers and drank champagne,” recalled LUMCON professor Dr. Nancy Rabalais. “Everyone felt like it was their boat.”

While the Pelican was well-suited for oceanographic research, LUMCON needed a smaller vessel for nearshore research and educational cruises. In 1986, LUMCON sold the R.J. Russell and added to its fleet the 58-foot R/V Acadiana, designed and built by Breaux’s Bay Craft, Inc. in Loreauville, LA with funding provided by LUMCON.

Small boats have also been a part of LUMCON since the beginning. For example, the E. coli (of the same name as the bacterial infection) was donated to LUMCON in its infancy.

In 2003, the R/V Pelican underwent a refit upgrading a majority of the scientific equipment onboard and adding an additional 10 feet to the stern. The R/V Acadiana underwent a major upgrade in early 2017 to completely redo its interior. LUMCON continues to maintain a fleet of small boats and watercraft to meet the needs of marine science educators and researchers.