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NOAA Ship Rainier

The most productive coastal hydrographic survey platform in the world!


NOAA Ship Rainier is one of the most modern and productive hydrographic survey platforms of its type in the world. The ship is designed and outfitted for conducting coastal hydrographic surveys in support of NOAA’s nautical charting program. The ship supports high-precision near-shore surveys. The ship operates off the U.S. Pacific Coast, and in Alaskan coastal waters. Rainier is named for Mount Rainier in Washington state. The vessel is homported at the Marine Operations Center - Pacific in Newport, Oregon and is operated by NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations.

Rainier is equipped with the Kongsberg EM710 Multibeam Sonar System and a Rolls-Royce Moving Vessel Profiler (MVP) 200 sound speed acquisition system, and the ship’s five aluminum survey launches are equipped with four Reson 7125 dual-frequency multibeam sonars, one tilted Reson 8125 multibeam sonar, one ODOM Echotrac CV200 vertical beam echosounder, and HYPACK and HYSWEEP Hydrographic Data Acquisition Software. The ship and launches also carry data acquisition and processing computers, Differential Global Positioning Systems (DGPS/PPK), Applanix POS/MV Positioning and Attitude Systems and an assortment of bottom samplers, tide gauges, land survey equipment, and sound velocimeters. Two 19-foot small boats are used for diving and shore support operations, such as the installation and removal of tide gauges and DGPS control stations.

In 2008 and 2009 Rainier received four new survey launches, designed to support NOAA’s multiple scientific missions. The launches were each outfitted with a large A-frame for deploying a variety of scientific equipment, swim platform for dive and rescue operations, and cutting edge survey systems and technology.

The concurrent use of several multibeam systems allows Rainier to cover large survey areas in a field season. The ship’s hydrographers acquire and process massive amounts of data and create high-resolution, three-dimensional terrain models of the ocean floor. Using these models of the seafloor, hydrographers can quickly analyze the bottom and identify shoals and obstructions dangerous to navigation.

Scientists can also use the three-dimensional images to study the geologic processes that created and are changing the shape of the bottom. Backscatter data acquired during the survey are now being utilized for fisheries habitat mapping.


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Rainier's E-mail address is: NOAA.Ship.Rainier@noaa.gov

Rainier's Mail address is:
NOAA Ship Rainier
2002 SE Marine Science Drive
Newport, OR 97365-5229

Rainier's Telephone Numbers


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