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APL-UW Research Vessels  

APL-UW has pier facilities on nearby Lake Union equipped with davits/hoists for loading the R/Vs Robertson, Light, and Henderson; there are vehicles and forklifts available to transport heavy equipment. There are also various small boats available to support marine operations. Access to Puget Sound and deep water is available through a nearby system of locks.

For more information about APL-UW vessels, contact:

R/V Robertson   R/V Light  

The R/V Robertson was added to the APL-UW fleet in September 2008. The vessel features generous lab space on the main level, ample deck space, and operator’s locator for good view of the deck and over-the-side operations, and bunk, galley, and head facilities. The A-frame, utility hoist, 12-ft wide folding swim step, and two hull wells allow multiple, flexible instrumentation deployment.

R/V Robertson's maiden voyage to APL-UW through the Hiram Chittenden Locks in Ballard


Length: 56', 8”

Breadth: 19', 0”

Draft: 5', 0”

Freeboard (aft): 4', 0”

Construction: Fiberglass with aluminum work deck

Speed: 0.5 – 10 kts

Operating area: Puget Sound, Strait of Juan De Fuca and the coastal waters of Washington, Oregon, and Vancouver Island

Range: 740 n mi

Fuel: 1200 gal

Water: 500 gal

Main Engine: 455 HP - John Deere 6125AFM

Bowthruster: 40 HP - 12” tunnel

Electrical System: 240 VAC, 3 PH., 60 Hz, 24 VDC

Generators: 55 KW and 20 KW - Northern Lights

UPS: 4000 Watt - Xantrex SW4024

Work Deck: 418 sq ft

Swim Step: 12’W x 3’D x 1’ above WL (folding)

Bolt Pattern: 3/4”-10 deck bolt sockets on aft deck (2’x 2’ pattern)

Deck Load: 6 LT (4’ CG above work deck)

A-Frame: 6,000 lb. (12’H x 12’W)

A-Frame Winch: 6,000 lb with 50 ft of 1/2” Spectra line

Crane: 40-3L with 23' reach and 30,000 ftlb capacity

Utility Winch: Nordic 32 Series - 1000' of 1” line, 3,950 lb full line pull

Anchor Winch: 1000 ft of 1/2 in wire, 90' of 5/8” chain plus 145# Forfjord

Stern Winches (2): 1000 ft of 3/8” wire, 90 ft of 3/8” chain plus 90# Forfjord

Hydraulic System: 21 gpm @ 2900 psi

Air Compressor: 8.5 cfm @ 135 psi (30 gal. tank)

Lab: 286 sq ft

Wet Wells: 19” and 10”

Berthing: 6 persons

Galley: Stove, refrigerator, and microwave/convection oven

Head (1): marine head with sink and shower

Holding Tank: 200 gal capacity

Fire Extinguishing: Fixed engine room and (8) hand held extinguishers

ADCP: RDI model WHVM-300

CTD: SBE 911 with SBE 32SC Carousel – (12) 2.5-liter bottles

Compass: JRC JLR-20 GPS compass

DGPS: Northstar 952XD

Electronic Chart: Nobeltec

AIS: Furuno FA-150

Radar: Furuno FR8062 (72nm range) Furuno 1832 (36nm range)

Autopilot: Simrad AP50

Depth: Furuno FCV-1100L (50/200 KHZ)

VHF (2): Standard-Horizon GX1500S

Phone: Cellular base station w/ fax – 3 watt amp and ext. antenna

Data/Internet: 3G/4G Moble wireless router – Top Global MB6800

Wind: R.M. Young (05106MA)

Hailer/Intercom: Furuno LH3000

Life Raft: DBC 12 person (SOLAS B)

EPIRB: ACR Globalfix 406MHZ CAT. 1

Life Jackets: 18 type 1, 8 work vest, 12 survival suit, 4 exp. suit

The R/V Light was added to the APL-UW fleet in August 2018. The vessel was designed to be a versatile and efficient platform to test ocean science instrumentation and equipment under development at APL-UW. Dedicated to Russell Davis Light, the late head of the Ocean Engineering Department, this vessel embodies his professional values — to be the best prepared, hardest working, and most adaptable to adversity.

R/V Light arrives at Portage Bay and the UW campus from its fabrication shipyard in Port Townsend, WA


Hull Form: Catamaran

Hull Material: Aluminum

Range: Inland waters of Puget Sound and Lake Washington

Wind Velocity: 35 knots, with gusts to 45 knots

Maximum Speed: 6.5 knots

Length Overall: 65' 9”

Length on Deck: 65'

Beam Molded: 25'

Depth Molded: 6' 9”

Draft Loaded: 3' 2”

Propulsion Generator: 125 KW, 480 VAC, 60 Hz, 3-phase

Service Generator: 25 KW, 240 VAC, 60 Hz, 3-phase

Navigation Electronics: GPS, GPS Compass, Autopilot, Radar, Depth Sounder, VHF Radio, Chart Plotter

Diesel Fuel Oil: 2000 gallons, 2 x 500-gallon tanks per hull

R/V Henderson      

The R/V Henderson is a 70-foot steel-hulled catamaran vessel with a large interior lab space, a traveling overhead hoist, and a large wet well between the hulls. It is equipped with full instrumentation for calibration of underwater acoustic equipment. Accurate measurements can be made of transmit and receive responses, radiation patterns, and all transducer parameters. The vessel is only operated on the inland waters of Puget Sound and Lake Washington.

R/V Henderson arriving at Shilshole Bay to pick up APL-UW researchers


Length: 70 ft

Draft: 4 ft

Beam: 25 ft

Displacement: 64 tons

Hull: Steel (catamaran)

Lab Space: 40 ft long x 18 ft wide with 8 ft overhead; wet well opening 7 ft x 24 ft; space is heated with an oil furnace

Engine (1): GM 4-71

Speed: 6 kts

Horsepower: 110

Fuel Consumption: 8 gal/hr

Generator (1): John Deere diesel generator 60 KW; 240 VAC 3Ph; 120 VAC 1 Ph

Fuel Tank: 2500 gal

Water Tank: 500 gal

Overhead Hoist: 2 ton capacity; travels length of wet well

Utility Winch: 1/2 ton, located in lab; 2250 ft of 1/4” wire rope

Anchor Windlass: (3) winches, each with 1000 ft of wire and gypsyhead; (2) 210# stockless anchors and (1) 150# Danforth anchor

Air Compressor: 125 psi; 5.3 cfm

Hydraulics: 220 HP electrohydraulic power unit; operates bowthruster and anchor winches

Ram: Mounted over wet well; capable of rotating/lowering equipment into well down to 50 ft

Radar: Furuno 2400 (24 nm range)

Fathometer: Furuno FE6200 (50 kHz)

VHF Radio (2): ICOM IC-M120 (25 W); GE MVS special purpose transceiver (40 W)

DGPS: Northstar 941XD

Berthing: 4 bunks

Galley: Stove, oven, refrigerator, microwave

Head (1): marine head with approved MSD; shower

Life Raft (2): Elliot 6-person rafts

Fire Extinguishing (8): Handheld extinguishers

Life Jackets: (12) type 1 offshore vest, (6) work type vest, (2) floatsuit

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center