Frequently asked questions

For further information or clarification, please refer to Cruise Planning or contact Marine Operations.

How can I schedule a tour of one of the vessels?

Please contact the Marine Operations Administrator to arrange for a tour. Additional guidelines for MBARI staff to lead tours of the vessels and be found on the Canyon Head (MBARI staff only) under the Marine Operations, Divisional info, Actions section.

How do I schedule ship time?

Scheduling ship time first begins during the MBARI Proposal Process. Shiptime Request forms are submitted with proposals, and are awarded by a review committee. Special scheduling requests should be included in the proposal. Ship days are scheduled by DMO with every effort to meet the needs of each project. For further information on the proposal process, contact the Project Coordination Office.

External users are non-MBARI employees or adjuncts who wish to request MBARI ship time. Ideally, external users should submit their requests each year in June along with the internal MBARI proposals. However, whenever external users request ship time, they should complete the external ship time request form.

Please contact the Deputy Director or the Logistics Specialist for additional information regarding scheduling.

What should I do to prepare for a cruise?

Refer to the Cruise Planning section of our website and select a vessel under the Preparing for a Cruise section.

How do I file a precruise plan or postcruise report and when are they due?

Precruise plans should be submitted to the Logistics Support Specialist 10 working days in advance of a cruise. Postcruise reports are due within two weeks after returning to shore. If an operational day is “lost” due to harsh weather, mechanical problems or other causes, a postcruise report should still be filed. DMO will offer a “make-up” contingency day as availability and the schedule allow. MBARI employees may submit their cruise plans and search for cruise data on-line via the Expedition Database. External users should complete the Cruise Plan form (MS Word template) and return by e-mail to the Logistics Specialist.

How many science participants can I bring on board?

The R/V Rachel Carson day cruises will accommodate 8-10 science participants including the chief scientist. Additional guests, and special guests such as media representatives, are approved by special arrangement with the director of Marine Operations (DMO) and the captain. Please inform DMO of these requests prior to submitting a precruise.

The maximum number of science participants for a R/V Western Flyer cruise is 11 if there is an even number of female scientists, otherwise the maximum is 10. If no ROV operations are to take place, then 16 science crew may participate. Please refer to the Science Party Size policy or contact the Logistics Specialist for details.

How can I participate in or observe a cruise if I’m not a member of the usual science party?

Determine who will be the Chief Scientist for the day by consulting the MBARI Web Calendar where the monthly Schedules are posted. The vessel entries are color coded: R/V Rachel Carson, R/V Western Flyer. Contact the chief scientist directly and ask permission. In the case of general non-science observers, such as from the media or from other institutions, the director of Marine Operations and MBARI communications coordinator should be consulted.

What time do I need to be at the dock?

It is expected that all cruise participants be onboard the R/V Rachel Carson 30 minutes prior to departure and onboard the R/V Western Flyer one hour before departure .

For a cruise on board the R/V Rachel Carson, departure is normally at 0700. Please confirm with your Chief Scientist. The R/V Western Flyer departures vary with each cruise depending on the tide level. It is the Chief Scientist’s responsibility to confirm that all members of his/her party are fully aware of all plans.

How can I get information on ship & ROV specifications?

Consult the MBARI Vessels & Vehicles pages.

How can I get information on “ships of opportunity”?

DMO has files and contact information for many ships in the oceanographic research community, both large vessels and small day boats, statewide and national. Please contact the Deputy Director or the Logistics Specialist.

At Sea

Research Vessel Western Flyer
R/V Western Flyer cruise planning
Checklist of Supplies
Cruises outside home port
Data and video: formats and specifics
Departure/arrival times
early departure
Hazardous materials
Precruises and postcruises
ROV dive time definitions
RHIB operations
ROV users checklist
Science party guidelines
Scuba diving
Ship to shore communications
Research Vessel Rachel Carson
R/V Rachel Carson cruise planning
Research Vessel Paragon
Emergencies and contacts
Onboard documents and logs
Policies and operating guidelines
Marine operations policies
Departure/arrival times
Early departure
Elevator payload limits
Equipment design guidelines
Hazardous materials
Homer beacon policies
Lab use and chemical safety
NILSPIN ™ oceanographic ropes
Push core policies and description
RHIB operations
Rigging policy
Science party size
Cruise planning
Marine operations policies
Remotely operated vehicles
ROV Ventana
ROV Doc Ricketts
Mini remotely operated vehicle (ROV)
Autonomous underwater vehicles
Gulper autonomous underwater vehicle
Seafloor mapping AUV
Long-range autonomous underwater vehicle Tethys
Investigations of imaging for midwater autonomous platforms
Benthic Rover
Autonomous surface vehicles
Wave Glider
Wave Glider-based communications hotspot
2020 Expeditions
2019 Expeditions
2018 Expeditions
2017 Expeditions
2016 Expeditions
2015 Expeditions
2014 Expeditions
2013 Expeditions
2012 Expeditions
Cabled observatory
About MARS
MARS contacts
MARS science experiments
Ocean Soundscape
Soundscape Listening Room
MARS hydrophone data
How to connect to MARS
MARS contacts
How to interface
MARS site description
MARS instrument deployment
MARS biology
MARS technology
MARS connector wiring
MARS node description
More ocean observatory resources
Local notice to mariners
Mooring data
Research tools
Administration & planning
Marine operations technicians