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Research Vessel Fulmar Dedication


  • R/V Fulmar is a new scientific research vessel built by the National Marine Sanctuary Program.
  • Fulmar will enhance research and monitoring in the Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones, and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries.
  • The vessel is outfitted to perform a wide variety of scientific projects, including marine mammal and bird surveys, towed camera sled surveys, ocean floor mapping, scuba surveys, and more.

On October 17, 2006 NOAA dedicated a new high-speed research vessel that will serve as an important new tool to enhance research and monitoring in the Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones, and Monterey Bay national marine sanctuaries located in offshore waters along the northern and central California coast. The vessel has been named the Fulmar, after a seabird common to the region, and will be stationed at a new floating dock next to the U.S. Coast Guard Pier at the Monterey Harbor.

Built by All American Marine of Bellingham, Wash., the 67-foot research vessel is a Teknicraft designed hydrofoil-assisted, aluminum-hulled catamaran powered by Twin Detroit series 740 horsepower diesel engines. The vessel operates with a top speed of 27 knots and a cruising speed of 22 knots. It has the ability to deploy and tow scientific equipment using its Markey oceanographic winch. A state-of-the-art Nitrox dive air system will enhance safety for diving operations, and allow sanctuary scientists better access to the underwater environment. Wet and dry laboratories will allow onboard processing of samples and data.

The Fulmar operates with a crew of two and can hold up to 30 passengers. Onboard berthing, stowage, galley and safety equipment will allow for multiple day excursions with science crews of up to 10 individuals. The vessel will be used for up to 100 missions per year. Research projects will include monitoring ocean habitats along the remote Big Sur coastline, marine mammal and seabird observations, oceanographic monitoring, archeological/cultural research, and collecting baseline data for emerging management issues such as invasive species and marine reserves. The Fulmar will also serve as a platform for teacher workshops and other education and outreach initiatives. The sanctuaries will also partner with academic and scientific institutions to complement their research efforts.

The dedication, held at the U.S. Coast Guard Pier in Monterey, Calif., the vessel’s homeport and adjacent to the headquarters for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, was attended by Congressman Sam Farr, Monterey mayor Dan Albert, and Anita Ferrante, a member of the local fishing community who served as the “matriarch” of the new vessel and represented area mariners.

The Fulmar is the fourth in the line of small vessels built to the requirements defined by the NOAA sanctuary program. This twin-hull Shearwater class vessel is proceeded by the 62-foot Shearwater, supporting the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, the Peter Gladding, a 57-foot enforcement vessel stationed at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and the 50-foot Auk, supporting the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Additionally, contracts have been awarded for the construction of six additional vessels to be built for the NOAA sanctuary program in 2007-2008. These vessels demonstrate the program’s commitment to on-the-water science, education, outreach and enforcement.

To view photos of the Fulmar dedication event, go to the SIMoN Photo Database.

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