Research Vessel Rachel Carson
Cruise Planning



The vessel supports multi-purpose operations revolving around ROV and AUV deployments, offshore instrument deployments, and diving tasks. When switching between these activities, mobilization and reconfiguration of the vessel in port is required. Most vessel configurations can be completed in one day. Mobilization days can be requested during the annual proposal process.

Standard 10-hour day

  • Departure and arrival times –  An average science day is 0700 to 1630. Please arrive at the dock by 0630.
  • Science party size –  On standard day trips, the maximum number of science participants is 10. This includes ROV pilots and/or AUV technicians. The number of crew and pilots or AUV technicians will vary depending on the mission. Generally there will be five ship’s crew. Two ROV pilots will be onboard for ROV dives and/or two AUV technicians for AUV missions. For CTD missions a CTD technician will be required.

Extended 12-hour days

  • An extended day is generally 0600 to 1730. Science personnel should be onboard by 0530.
  • Extended days may be requested when scientific operations require long transit times to remote sites in the Monterey-Carmel Bay region. These lengthened days are configured as 12-hour day operations, typically associated with approximately two hours of transit time to the dive site. These extra hours assure that the ROV will be afforded a reasonable amount of working time at these distant sites. Guidelines for their use:
    • Must be requested and approved in advance via the project proposal process.
    • These extended days need to be assigned to specific dates in the calendar year.
    • Departure and arrival times for extended days are typically set by safety, weather, personnel, and transit time considerations.
    • A standard extended cruise without daylight restrictions will be scheduled for departure at 0600 and returning by 1730. Personnel are expected onboard no later than 0530.
    • Standard winter season extended cruises with daylight restrictions will be scheduled for departure at 0630, returning by 1800. Personnel are expected onboard no later than 0600.
    • The Captain, AUV Group Leader or Chief ROV Pilot may use their discretion to modify these standard guidelines to match weather, tidal or daylight patterns.

Night / 24-hour Operations

Extended offshore operations may be requested when the scientific mission requires this type of capability, however, this type of activity is limited by available vessel crew. Advanced planning is required for scheduling the transition period from day to night work for the AUV team and vessel crew. Also, 24-hour operations require advanced planning in order to comply with USCG regulations. Please coordinate these special scheduling requests with DMO administration during the project proposal and planning process.

Guidelines for their use:

Must be requested and approved in advance via the project proposal process.

Extended operations need to be assigned to specific dates in the calendar year.

Departure and arrival times for night operations are typically determined by safety, scientific, weather, personnel, and transit time considerations.

The total number of science personnel and crew must equal 12.  Usually six crew members will be required, leaving six available bunks for ROV pilots, AUV technicians and scientists/engineers.

More on R/V Rachel Carson cruises

  • Non-MBARI participants must sign the visiting participant release form and submit to captain.
  • The standard operational day is scheduled for weekdays only. Operations that require weekend periods should be requested during the project proposal process in the sea time request form.
  • Due to the limited facilities onboard the R/V Rachel Carson, our standard duration is limited to 9 continuous offshore days when planning extended cruises.
  • Food is available in the galley, however no cook is provided.
  • Sanitary system — Please note when requesting extended cruises that there are only two shower facilities and three heads.
  • ROV control room
    • MBARI strives to ensure the comfort and safety of staff and visitors by encouraging a fragrance free environment in the ROV control room.
  • Sea water lab drawing
    • The wet lab also includes a small refrigerator (24″x24″), freezer (24″x24″) and space for compressed air tanks.

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