Work on the drop keels has been completed in the shed. These amazing scientific components of the ship have been moved to the wharf area and lifted and fitted into RV Investigator.

Check out these amazing photos.

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ECOS Magazine published an article about the scientific capabilities of RV Investigator. It’s a great read as it describes the hull, drop keel and the gondola designs and capabilities.

The article was written by our very own Dr Brian Griffiths, who is a member of the Future Research Vessel Project Team, and Michele Sabto from ECOS Magazine.

Here’s the section on the drop keels.

Drop keels

Another unique feature of this vessel is a couple of drop keels that contain an array of scientific instruments. The keels are about 1.3 metres wide by about 3.6 metres long – the scale of an aircraft wing – and are kept inside a tube in the ship. They can be lowered down to about 4 metres below the hull, putting the acoustic equipment inside them well below the bubble zone as the vessel goes through the water.

Seawater inlets on the keel undersides allow scientists to collect uncontaminated seawater samples.

Other instruments mounted in, or on, the keels can:

  • measure the speed, direction and depth of currents – understanding current speed and direction is key to understanding the transport of heat in oceans
  • indicate fish abundance and size
  • detect fish schools and individual fish, giving location and depth relative to the vessel as it moves through the water
  • measure the velocity of sound in water – sound velocity affects depth calculations
  • measure the width and height of scientific trawl net carried behind RV Investigator – the net can be up to 4 kilometres deep and 6 kilometres long. Knowing how the size of the net mouth opening changes it moves through the water helps calculate abundance estimates for trawl catches, and improves understanding of the general behaviour of trawl nets
  • provide data on the position of instruments towed by or moored to the ship, increasing the spatial accuracy and precision of measurements.

The original article can be found here


  1. This is really amazing.

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