F.G. Walton Smith Vessel

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F. G. Walton F.G. Walton

The Rosenstiel School's primary research vessel is the F.G. WALTON SMITH, named in honor of the School's founder. The WALTON SMITH, which was designed to the school's specifications, was built in 1999 and placed into service in late 2000.

This 96-foot-long, 40-foot wide catamaran is capable of reaching speeds of 10 knots with a draft of only 7 feet. This designed shallow draft enables the WALTON SMITH to explore the various shallow water environments such as reefs, mangroves, and grass beds. The vessel accommodates up to 19 people (12 scientists, 7 crew) in its ten staterooms and encompasses 800 square feet of laboratory space, as well as an additional 950 square feet of multi-use back deck working area. Constructed by Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City, Florida, the catamaran has twin 760hp Cummins engines with twin Servogear variable pitch propellers and twin bow thrusters. The Walton Smith has a fuel capacity of 10,000 gallons and a reverse osmosis water system that helps the ship hold 3,000-gallons of freshwater.

The vessel has the capability of using bow thrusters, controllable pitch propellers and independent rudders while conducting oceanographic operation at location. Other specialized instruments include transducer wells that contain ADCP and depth sounder transducers for measuring ocean currents and bottom profiling; a moon pool between the hulls for drilling or coring operations; and a notched stern to facilitate maneuvering equipment into the water using the A-frame.

The WALTON SMITH is equipped to sample the seawater it is operating in with a sea surface flow-through system. This PVC-based system collects seawater from an intake at the bow. The following instruments are installed in the bow flow-through system:

  • Sea-Bird Electronics Thermosalinograph (SBE 45 MicroTSG)
  • Sea-Bird Electronics Digital Oceanographic Thermometer (SBE 38)
  • Dual Turner Designs C3 multi-sensor platforms with a combined total of (2) chlorophyll, (2) CDOM, phycoerythrin and turbidity sensor channels

The WALTON SMITH is also equipped with a meteorological suite of instruments that include wind speed and direction, air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, solar radiometers (TUVR, IR & Shortwave) and PAR sensors (Photosynthetically Active Radiation - for use with the seawater CTD profiler).

R.M. Young, Eppley Laboratories and Biospherical Instruments are some of the manufacturers of the meteorological suite of instruments.

A Nitrox dive compressor and up to four small boats can be loaded onto the ship for diving operations.

The WALTON SMITH operates in accordance with the University National Laboratory System (UNOLS).

As a UNOLS vessel, the WALTON SMITH conducts all of its operations with strict adherence to UNOLS safety standards and is subject to regular, recognized ship inspection programs scheduled by established UNOLS procedures. The ship also follows UNOLS practices for cruise reporting, cruise assessment, cost accounting and performance standards.

For further inquiries, please contact Marine Operations at MarOpsAdm@miami.edu.