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USGS R.V. Karluk

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steering image This is the R/V Karluk, a research vessel that can be used by many different projects for a variety of tasks. Included is specific information on:

The R/V Karluk is at home in icy waters.

The R.V. Karluk is a 12.8 m (42 ft.) fiberglass, tunnel drive research vessel built on the hull of the popular Alaska Chignik seigner. Ice strengthened, she was designed to accommodate four on extended, self contained, geophysical, sampling, and diving cruises in remote Arctic waters, making efficient use of all space for storage of supplies, spare parts, and provisions.

The R.V. Karluk was used in the Arctic from 1975 to 1987, ranging from the Yukon Delta, Bering Sea, to the Mackenzie Delta, Canada, and winterized in various places on land. In 1989, she was brought to Seattle and stored, but returned from 1990 to 1993 for work in southeast and south-central Alaska. In 1995 she was used in Puget Sound, Washington.

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Preparing gear at the onset of spring ice breakup near the North slope of Alaska in 1983.

Living and working spaces are well insulated and heated by a diesel fuel cooking/baking stove. They include four bunks, lockers, toilet/shower, galley, and dinette for four. The deck house has about 3.7 m (12 linear ft.) of counter space, with an additional 1.8 m (6 ft.) in the wheel house for geophysical and navigational equipment.

A hull-mounted transducer and sea chest with a 3.5 and 7 kHz transducer exist, as well as a bow sprit for towing a sonar fish in undisturbed very shallow water. The vessel is equipped with stabilizer booms, which also serve to tow hydrophones and boomers. It carries 7 kW and 15 kW diesel generators, and is capable of doing seismic and sonar surveys all day long at 3.5 knots. With its hydraulic winch and main boom the boat seved well to take many vibrocores over the side, using a device weighing about 780 kg (2,000 lbs.).

The R.V. Karluk can be operated with controls above the wheel house, and has a lookout in the mast. The 8V71 GMC main engine propels the boat at 8.5 knots, and with a fuel tank capacity of over 3460 L (900 gals.) it has a range of about 1670 kms (900 nmi.). Keel coolers enable the boat to operate in sediment-laden or eel grass infested waters, or while ice crystals are forming slush in the water column. With its rugged hull and versatile boom, the boat can be re-supplied and fueled from alongside a gravel beach in remote regions.

Specifications, equipment, accommodations and drawings are presented on a separate page; for additional information please call Sue Hunt at (650) 329-5860. sampling image

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Buying diesel fuel from Oliktok DEW Line site on the North Slope in late August, 1975. Note snow-covered UNIBOOM sled on deck.

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Fine-tuning electric resistivity gear in the Deck House during an offshore study of permafrost in the Beaufort Sea in 1982

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Hauling out for the winter in Prudehoe Bay at the close of the Karluk's first season in 1975. Gravel bars obviously are abrasive on the bottom paint.

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Loaded with vibrocorer for sampling off the North Slope of Alaska in 1976. Launch tags along like an obedient puppy dog.

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Pumping drinking water from a fresh water pool on multi-year ice flow in the Beaufort Sea, 1978. Note polar bear guard on cabin top.

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Taking care of needed repairs.

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Page Last Modified: Mon Nov 4 03:37:54 PST 2013  (chd)