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Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

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R/V Rafael

R/V Rafeal underway

The USGS Coastal and Marine Program conducts Sea-floor Mapping operations throughout the United States. At the USGS Woods Hole Field Center, there is a staff of approximately ten professional field support engineers who acquire, design, build, coordinate, and deploy instrumentation for use in difficult and severe marine environments.

The R/V Rafael performs nearshore geophysical surveys, and includes high resolution sub-bottom profiling, sidescan sonar, and swath echo-sounding in its arsenal of survey capabilities. The Rafael can cruise at 35 knots fully loaded, so day surveys in large lakes, bays, or rivers, and near-shore ocean environments that require long transits can be cost effective.

The R/V Rafael can be configured on short notice to perform research grade seismic data acquisition, sidescan sonar mapping, interferometric sonar, bathymetry, scuba dive operations, benthic sampler deployment, and more. Its deck hardware includes two davits, one with a 4500-pound-line-pull winch, two side-mount poles, and a 4x8-foot aluminum work platform situated over the motors for equipment deployment and recovery. Aluminum plates mounted on port and starboard rails can be drilled and tapped for special applications. Electronics and other equipment is mounted inside the extended cabin using military grade shelving and straps.

Survey areas from North Carolina to Washington state have been visited by transporting the fully equipped versatile vessel on its triple-axle commercial-grade trailer. With its unique mounting systems for survey equipment, the boat can be configured at Woods Hole and transported via trailer fully loaded to the work site, requiring only brief time for setup upon arrival.

R/V Rafael Specifications:

  • Make: 1996 Parker Deep V Hull with Extended Cabin
  • Material: Fiberglass
  • LOA: 25'3"
  • Beam: 8'6"
  • Draft: 2'6"
  • Weight: 11,500 unloaded - 13,000 (trailer/boat weight combined)
  • Power: Twin 200HP Mercury OPTIMAX Outboard Motors mounted on Ocean Platform
  • Fuel Capacity: 175 Gallons
  • Cruise Speed: 40 knts
  • LAB: 25 linear feet of high impact aluminum base shelving with rubber coating / channeled for custom tie-down strapping.
  • Aft Deck: Open construction 7' * 7' work area, aluminum plates on gunnels with dual mounting davits both starboard and port - abaft the cabin.

Deck Equipment:

  • Davits: 2 5/8" OD aluminum construction braced and supported, 500 lb rated, one manual, one with integral 4500 lb 12vdc hauling winch with 75' of 5/8" galvanized wire.


  • Anchor Windlass
  • A/C Heater
  • 6.5 Kw generator


  • Two Marine Band VHS radios w/ remote station
  • Furuno FRS 1000A 36nm Range Combined Radar w/ Electronic Chart Overlay
  • DGPS
  • 24 kHz/200kHz Dual Frequency Echo Sounder 11" with CRT Color Display with remote capability Digital Compass, and NEMA 0183 Output/Input.
  • 50 watt AC/DC Power Supply


  • Type: Boat Master
  • LOA: 33'
  • Weight: 1800 lb.
  • Construction / Type: Triple Axle 7" Solid Aluminum "I-Beam" construction, 2 15/16" receiver, Dual Bronze Disk Surge Type Brakes, All Stainless hardware, Wheeled Jack Stand, 12vdc Automatic Boat Winch, 15" tires, torsion bar suspension.

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