R/V MANTA has been the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary research vessel since June 2008.
This 82-foot, high-speed Teknicraft catamaran is used primarily as a research platform, conducting research and monitoring activities in the waters of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, but mostly within sanctuary boundaries. In addition, the vessel serves as a host for educational field trips and emergency response in and around the sanctuary.
Students deploying a CTD carousel
The vessel's A-frame and winch configuration are used for a variety of projects including trawls, CTD casts, sediment sampling, and towing equipment such as side-scan sonar and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). The wet and dry labs allow on-board processing of samples and data.
An ROV ready to launch from the back deck of R/V MANTA
Extensive dive operations are supported by onboard facilities and equipment. Berthing, stowage, galley and safety equipment are geared towards multiple day operations with crews of up to ten scientists.
For more information about R/V MANTA, please consult the following pages:
This video shows the R/V MANTA underway during her initial sea trials near Bellingham, WA, in February 2008. A full description of this video is available on our Other Videos page. (Video Length - 1:18)
R/V MANTA is categorized as SRV-class (Small Research Vessel) within NOAA's fleet of vessels. This means that it is greater than 65 feet in overall length but weighs less than 300 gross tons. To date, it is the largest vessel in this class. Other sanctuary research vessels (R/V) in this class are:
Standard protocol is for SRV-class vessels to be named after seabirds, but Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary sought an exception to this as seabirds are not a notable part of the sanctuary ecosystem. Instead, our vessel is the R/V MANTA, in recognition of the popular and much more representative manta rays residing in the sanctuary.