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Pacific Coastal & Marine Science Center

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Coastal and marine geology data types and equipment

Research vessels

The USGS Coastal & Marine Program requires larger vessels capable of extended ocean operation for surveys and investigations of the continental shelf, as well as smaller vessels for surveys of shallow estuaries and coastal regions.

Coastal vessels with varying speed and endurance capabilities are about 40' in length and are specifically designed for shallow-draft near-shore and coastal operations.

PCMSC acquired its own vessel, Research Vessel Parke Snavely, in November 2007. R/V Snavely is a 34’ Armstrong Catamaran with an open stern and an aluminum hull. The boat is named after Parke D. Snavely, Jr. (1919 - 2003), a pioneer of marine geology research at USGS. R/V Snavely is principally a seafloor mapping boat, used in many seafloor and nearshore operations. Read more on our R/V Snavely web page.

Another coastal vessel often utilized by PCMSC, R/V Karluk, is based in Seattle. Additional information about R/V Karluk is available in Infobank.

PCMSC also leases vessels maintained and operated by the University National Oceanographic Laboratories (UNOLS), and contract vessels as needed. For more information on all platforms used in our research, please see "USGS CMG Data & Metadata keyed on platforms" at


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Page Contact Information: Laura Zink Torresan
Page Last Modified: 1 July 2009 (lzt)