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Design Considerations for Oceanographic Research Vessels

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As the oceanographic research vessel community prepares for updating its fleet of research vessels, they must consider vessel designs that improve the capability of the fleet to support science in the near and long-term. Advances in informational technologies have changed the "instruments" of science and resulted in the ability to study ocean processes in smaller time and space scales than before. While, networked structures on the ocean floor, remote sensing, and autonomous vehicles will allow oceanographers to synoptically measure the environment, ships will remain the "host-platforms" for such research. However, deployment and recovery of such systems, requires that future designs incorporate capabilities for increased speed, seakeeping, acoustic quietness, efficient power management systems, and lifecycle considerations. Consideration of such issues in the design phases will allow for the development of a technologically advanced ship that can serve the research community in the near and long-term.

A major aspect of oceanography through the decades has been the availability of research vessels for science. However, the access to and the capability of such vessels under the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) must not be taken for granted. Changes in the oceanographer's ability to make measurements at smaller and smaller sampling scales are brought on by advents in computational and information technologies. These changes necessitate that the researcher's "host-platform" evolves to handle these new observing systems. This evolution can include, but is not limited to speed, seakeeping, efficient ship power arrangements, and acoustic quietness. While each subject can be the focus of detailed individual papers, this article presents a general discussion on four elements of oceanographic research vessel design—hull concepts, power systems, acoustics, and life cycle management.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-09-01

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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