RV Arcticus – The Great Lakes Newest Research Vessel Delivered

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October 23, 2014


The U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center says it has taken delivery of its newest research vessel and the vessel will be put to work immediately carrying our lake trout spawning surveys on Lake Michigan.

The state-of-the-art RV Arcticus was delivered October 17 by Burger Boat Company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, joining the Great Lakes Science Center’s five-vessel fleet. The Arcticus has already arrived at its homeport at the Cheboygan Vessel Base in Cheboygan, Michigan and will go to work on a lake trout spawner survey in northern Lake Michigan on October 24.

Designed by JMS Naval Architechts, the 78-foot, steel-hulled Arcticus is designed to conduct lake-wide bottom trawl surveys, acoustic surveys, gill net surveys, and a variety of over-the-side science operations on the Great Lakes. Propulsion is provided by twin Caterpillar 454 BHP C12 C-Rating Tier II diesel engines and a bow thruster for increased maneuverability and station-keeping. The design includes a Wet lab, Dry lab, retractable transducers, ample working deck areas, large pilot house with excellent visibility, and comfortable accommodations and working areas for a 3-man crew and 6 scientists.

The vessel will operate year round across three state boundaries, Canadian waters, and treaty waters of Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior.

The delivery culminated a 15-month design and build process that began in July 2013. The Arcticus was launched on August 29, 2014, and underwent dock and sea trials September 29 through October 14.

The Arcticus replaces the RV Grayling, which will be transferred to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Pasqagoula, Mississippi, in November 2014.

R/V Arcticus at-a-glance:

  • Length: 77.5
  • Breadth: 26 ft.
  • Draft: 8.9 ft.
  • Full load displacement: 205 tons
  • Cruising speed: 9.5 knots
  • Maximum speed: 10.2 knots
  • Builder: Burger Boat Company (Manitowoc, WI)
  • Designer: JMS (Mystic, Connecticut)
  • Architect: Gregory C. Marshall Naval Architect, Ltd. (Victoria, BC, Canada)
  • Design and Construction cost: $5.6M
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