Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef Expedition 2014
Mission Information

Monday: April 21, 2014
Log Day 2

Amy Rath
Outreach and Communications Coordinator
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary

The NOAA Ship Nancy Foster is named for Dr. Nancy Foster, former Assistant Administrator for Oceanic Services and Coastal Zone Management at NOAA and Director of the National Ocean Service, whose unique perspective and 23-year tenure brought a quality and strength to the agency unequaled in its history. Dr. Foster received three NOAA Bronze Medals for her conservation accomplishments and a Department of Commerce Gold Medal for leading efforts to foster stewardship of the Nation's living resources. In tribute to Dr. Foster's outstanding contributions that advanced NOAA's mission, the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster is one ship within a fleet of research and survey vessels used by NOAA to improve our understanding of the marine environment.

Dr. Nancy Foster.

Dr. Nancy Foster.
(Photo: NOAA)

Originally built for the United States Navy as a torpedo test craft, the Navy transferred the vessel to NOAA in 2001 where she was assigned to her homeport in Charleston, South Carolina. Converted to conduct coastal and estuarine research along the U.S. Atlantic, Gulf, and Caribbean coasts, the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster requires a crew of 22 members to run 24-hour operations, 7 days per week, and can accommodate up to 15 science members. She is operated by 6 commissioned officers and 3 engineer officers. A team of able seamen, survey technicians, stewards, and a trained medical officer for the occasional medical situation complete the crew by providing critical support to marine operations.

Outfitted to accomplish a wide variety of coastal oceanographic research projects, this 187 foot, steel hull, multipurpose platform is equipped with two cranes, an A-frame, J-frame and two winches used for trawling and water and bottom sampling. Bathymetric and hydrographic surveying are accomplished with an array of sonar instruments capable of high resolution bottom mapping. Wet and dry laboratories provide suitable spaces for utilizing instruments that obtain oceanographic and atmospheric data and for supporting the technology needed to collect and analyze that data. For dive operations, Nancy Foster is equipped to launch three small boats and her crew members are trained and certified NOAA working divers.

More specifically, the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster may be found trawling for bottom-fish, sampling the water column and sediments, conducting side-scan and multibeam sonar surveys, towing remotely operated (underwater) vehicles (ROVs) and sub-bottom profilers, deploying bottom corers, servicing oceanographic and atmospheric surface and subsurface buoys, and deploying divers for performing tasks beneath the sea.

NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.

NOAA Ship Nancy Foster.
(Photo: NOAA Marine Operations)

Clearly, the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster is an extraordinarily versatile platform and we are fortunate to sail aboard her to conduct research in Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Please continue to follow our 2014 expedition to learn more.


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