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R/V MANTA, a state of the art research vessel for Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, was officially dedicated at a ceremony on June 27, 2008. Festivities took place at Pier 21 in Galveston, TX. Invited dignitaries and other guests were treated to a color guard processional provided by Boy Scout Troop 207, music by the Texas Brass Ensemble, presentation of a NOAA Environmental Hero award, and the traditional champagne christening of the vessel by Dr. Sylvia Earle.

WorkBoat Significant Boats of 2008 Plaque
R/V MANTA was also named to WorkBoat Magazine's
"Significant Boats of 2008" list.

For more information about the R/V MANTA:

Visit the Research Vessel page.
View images of the MANTA under Construction, from design to launch.
View images of MANTA Shakedown Cruise, in Bellingham, WA

Click on any picture below to see a larger, hi-resolution image. All images should be credited to Joyce & Frank Burek.

The MANTA Approaches

The vessel Manta following a small Coast Guard boat en route to Pier 21.
The R/V Manta approaches Pier 21 from the east with a Coast Guard escort.
The vessel Manta cruising past greenery in the Galveston ship channel.
The Manta looking festive with all of her flags flying.
The vessel Manta in the harbor in front of Pier 21.  Small Coast Guard vesel visible to the left.  Oil & gas platform servicing facilities in the background.
The Manta shows off her capabilities by doing a 360 degree turn in front of Pier 21.
The vessel Manta pulls up to Pier 21 sideways with her bow facing to the right.  Red, white and blue bunting decorates her bow rails.
The Manta sidles up to Pier 21.
The Manta being tied up to Pier 21 by her crew.
The captain and crew tie off the Manta in preparation for the ceremony.
A small crane mounted on the back deck of the Manta is used to swing the gangway into place between the boat the the pier.  A banner with the NOAA logo and R/V Manta on it hangs from the side of the gangway.
The Manta's gangway is set in place using the deck crane.
A view of Pier 21 with the Manta alongside, showing the large white tents where guests are seated for the ceremony.  Tents are to the left, boat to the right.
The R/V Manta ready for dedication at Pier 21, Galveston.
A view of the starboard side of the Manta looking from the back deck toward the bow.  The pier is slightly visible to the right.
The starboard side of R/V Manta at Pier 21 awaiting christening.

Presentation of Colors

7 Boy Scouts standing with the 5 ceremony flags alongside the speakers' dais.
Boy Scouts from Troop 207 (Dickinson, TX) present the colors.
One Boy Scout holds the American flag aloft while the other scouts dip the Texas, NOAA, Sanctuaries, and Troop flags dipped in salute.  Two scouts salute the flag with their hands to their brows.
Scout David Moore holds the American flag aloft during the National Anthem.
A five-piece brass band and drummer play the national anthem.  Two of the band members are out of the picture to the right.
The Texas Brass Ensemble plays the National Anthem.
The American, Texas, NOAA, Sanctuaries and Troop 207 flags fluttering in the breeze alongside the speakers' dais.
The posted flags fluttering in the onshore breeze.

Invocation & Welcome

A Navy chaplain in dress white uniform offers an invocation from the speakers' dais.
Lt. Commander Joseph R. Primeaux, chaplain for the U.S. Navy, offers an invocation.
G.P. Schmahl in a white shirt with NOAA logo talks to the guest from the speakers' dais.
Sanctuary superintendent G.P. Schmahl welcomes everyone and gives a brief overview of the Manta.

Honorary Speakers

Jim Connaughton standing at the dais and holding a pen aloft in each hand.
James Connaughton of the White House Council for Environmental Quality concludes his talk by presenting the Manta's captain with a water proof pen and Sharpie from the Oval Office.
Albert Cheng standing at the speakers' dais.
Albert Cheng from the office of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison brings greetings from the Senator.
G.P. Shmahl and John Boerstler shake hands as John hands G.P. a certificate of recognition.
John Boerstler from the office of Representative Nick Lampson presents G.P. with a certificate of recognition from the Congressman.
The front row of seated guests at the ceremony.  Guests are seated under a large catering tent facing the speakers' dais on the right.
Guests listen to several honorary speakers as the ceremony progresses.

Environmental Hero Award

Tim Keeney at the speakers' dais.
Tim Keeney, NOAA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, introduces the NOAA Environmental Hero Award.
G.P. Schmahl stands to the right of Dick Zingula as Time Keeney presents Dick with his award.  Dick and Tim are holding the plaque.
Tim Keeney presents the Environmental Hero Award to Richard "Dick" Zingula while G.P. Schmahl looks on.
Dick Zingula speaking into the microphone while holding the award plaque in his left hand.
Dick Zingula says a few words about his experiences at the Flower Garden Banks.
A side view of all the guests seated under the catering tents facing the speakers' dais to the left.
The crowd looks on as Dick receives his award.
Dick Zingula standing on the back deck of the Manta holding his award plaque.
Dick Zingula proudly displays his Environmental Hero Award on board the R/V Manta.

Keynote Speaker

Sylvia Earle standing at the speakers' dais with the Manta visible behind her.
Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer in Residence and Trustee Emerita of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, talks about her fascination with the ocean and her experiences at Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
Ted Lillestolen, on the right, presenting Sylvia Earle with a plaque.  Sylvia is pointing out the Flower Garden Banks hat that she is wearing
Sylvia points out her Flower Garden Banks hat as Ted Lillestolen presents a plaque honoring her as the sponsor for the R/V Manta.
Sylvia Earle standing on the gangway to the Manta.  The NOAA Logo and vessel name are visible ona banner hanging on the side of the gangway.  Sylvia is holding the dedication plaque.
From the gangway, Sylvia proudly shows her recognition plaque that will be permanently displayed on board the R/V Manta.


G.P. Schmahl handing the champagne bottle to Sylvia Earle on board the starboard side of the Manta while 4 people look on.
G.P. Schmahl hands the ceremonial bottle of champagne to Dr. Sylvia Earle.
Sylvia Earle and 6 other people on the starboard side of the Manta with Sylvia getting ready to strike the champagne bottle.
Deborah Brock, G.P. Schmahl, Jim Connaughton, Chuck Curry, Tim Keeney and Michael Weiss (left to right) look on as Sylvia Earle gets ready to christen the vessel.
Sylvia breaking the champagne bottle on the starboard rail of the Manta while 6 people look on.
Sylvia Earle breaks the bottle of champagne across the starboard rail of the R/V Manta.

Short Cruise

A view of Pier 21, Harbor House Hotel, the ceremony tents and Willie G's restaurant from the water (photographer was on board the Manta).
Looking back at Pier 21 as the Manta goes for a short cruise around the harbor.
10 guests lined up on the gangway from the Manta to Pier 21 after taking a short cruise.
Cruise guests stop for a photo on the gangway after the tour.


A streetside view of Willie G's restaurant at Pier 21.
The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation sponsored a reception in the Shipyard Room, upstairs at Willie G's. The dedication was held in the white tents visible in the background on the right side of the photo.
Emma Hickerson and G.P. Schmahl standing on either side of a large, colorful painting of marine life in the Flower Garden Banks.  The vertically oriented painting is displayed on an easel.
G.P. Schmahl unveils the first of two original paintings by Jacqueline Stanley representing the biology of the Flower Garden Banks.
G.P. Schmahl and Jennifer DeBose on either side of a second large, colorful painting depicting deepwater sanctuary species.  Sylvia Earle is standing to the right .  Emma Hickerson is standing to the left rear.
G.P. Schmahl unveils the second painting. Both paintings were donated to the sanctuary by the artist, Jacqueline Stanley.
G.P. Schmahl holding up a coffee table book about the Flower Garden Banks while standing in front of a colorful painting of the Flower Garden Banks.  Emma Hickerson is standing to the left.
G.P. Schmahl let's guests know about Texas Coral Reefs, a recently published book written by Houston diver and underwater photographer Jesse Cancelmo.

weather report observations cool stuff get wet

Juvenile blue tang (fish).  Bright yellow body with irridescent blue marking around eye and at top edge of dorsal fin.
National Marine Sanctuary logo - a stylized whale tail above waves