The National Marine Sanctuary Small Boat Program

Boats are essential to support the on-water mission requirements of the sanctuaries. These platforms are utilized to provide support for a range of activities.

  • Research
  • Education
  • Enforcement
  • Monitoring
  • Resource Protection
  • Technology Testing
  • Marine Archaeology

The boats are staffed by professional crews and support staff and provide a safe, secure, and cost-effective platform for meeting our requirements. Small boats are also the most powerful tool available for leveraging/creating interest and investments in marine sanctuaries.

About Our Boats

Safe & Secure Platforms:

The sanctuaries small boat program is recognized by our partners and collaborators for our emphasis on safety. The sites, coordinating with the sanctuaries Chief Engineer and Chief Mariner, implement a structured small boat maintenance program, and sanctuaries vessels are maintained on a periodic basis per NOAA and industry standards. This ensures that sanctuaries boats are safe, reliable, and secure platforms.

Experienced Crew:

Sanctuaries boats feature qualified and experienced crew. Sanctuaries crews and small boat related staff are typically trained above and beyond industry standards. The captains for several boats have extensive experience with scientific research and military missions.

Staff Expertise:

Sanctuaries has world class experts in a wide variety of marine scientific fields with extensive field experience including marine biologists, ecologists, archaeologists, engineers, educators, and outreach specialists.

Our Current Fleet:

The sanctuaries fleet consists of boats ranging from small tender or utility boats to larger regional class boats up to 85 feet in length. Currently, sanctuaries has two SRV class boats (>65') and eight NOAA class III (40' to 65') boats, and 17 class II vessels (26' to 40'). The sanctuaries fleet includes 23 boats less than 26 feet in length.

The SRVx and Manta are the SRV class regional boats. The SRVx typically operates along the East Coast and the Manta in the western Gulf of Mexico in and around Flower Gardens Bank National Marine Sanctuary. The class III boats include:

  • Auk (50') operating at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
  • Storm (50') operating at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
  • Joe Ferguson (41') operating at Grays Reef National Marine Sanctuary
  • Peter Gladding (57') operating at Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
  • Shearwater (62') operating at Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary;
  • Fulmar (67') and 4107 (41') operating along the West Coast (Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones, and Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries).

These are the major work boats in the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, conducting much of our at sea programmatic activities.

Partner with Us

Sanctuaries has collaborated frequently with partners to implement mission activities. These partnerships are beneficial for both parties and serve to further the understanding and protection of sanctuary resources. Learn more about our vessels, capabilities and how to partner with us.