Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Cruising on a Hybrid Research Vessel

May 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 


bwgb may 2014Beginning in June, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is inviting visitors to discover the multitude of life below the water’s surface by cruising on a one-of-a-kind new research vessel.

The Aquarium’s new research vessel, named R/V Spirit of the Sound™, is a $2.7 million, 65-foot catamaran that will be bigger, quieter, and greener than its current boat.She’ll be powered by a unique hybrid electric propulsion system that will run silently on the water, carry more participants, and reduce fuel consumption by an estimated 75 percent, compared to the Aquarium’s current trawler.Spirit of the Sound, designed by Incat Crowther of Australia with a hybrid electric bwgb may 2014bpropulsion system made by Northern Lights, Inc., was built at the Robert E. Derecktor Inc. shipyard in Mamaroneck.

“We believe that the boat will run our typical 2.5-hour study cruises entirely on electric power,” says Jennifer Herring, president of The Maritime Aquarium. “We are proud and excited to say that by running on clean, quiet power without emissions, The Maritime Aquarium will have a vessel that practices what we teach.”

According to Herring, running a research vessel quietly on electric power will be a benefit to wildlife, to other boaters, and to the delivery of educational programs onboard. The Maritime Aquarium runs a research vessel year-round on Long Island Sound. From April through October, it holds Marine Life Study Cruises, and from December through March, programming switches to Seal Watching Cruises. Students on field trips go out on these cruises during the week, and public outings are offered on weekends (daily in July and August).

Spirit of the Soundreplaces the R/V Oceanic, a 40-foot diesel-powered trawler built in 1979 that holds 29 passengers. A gift from one of the Aquarium’s founders — the Stamford-based Oceanic Society — the Oceanic has been used by the Aquarium since its opening in 1988.

The Aquarium’s new vessel will have a climate-controlled indoor classroom and an outdoor research space with a total capacity of 65, more than twice that of the 40-footOceanic. A solar array will provide supplementary power for the navigational and scientific equipment.

The name Spirit of the Sound was selected in a “Name the Boat” contest open to Norwalk school students this winter. Kiara Velazquezwon the contest’s grand prize for submitting the winning name.“We love the name and the liberated image it suggests,” Herring says. “It will be our job to help every student and every adult who comes aboard for an Aquarium program out on Long Island Sound to feel the spirit of the Sound and carry it with them long after they step off the boat.”

Chris Loynd, the Aquarium’s marketing director, notes that Spirit of the Sound will be docked just “a stone’s throw” from Norwalk’s public visitors’ dock, making it easy for visiting boaters to come aboard. “Even if you’re not someone who is wowed by hybrid-powered propulsion, you’ll love seeing all the marine life come up onto the boat right out of Long Island Sound right before your eyes,” adds Loynd.“Our study cruises are great for letting kids see ‘what’s down there,’ and also are an important reminder to boaters that they’re sailing, motoring, and paddling through what Congress has labeled an Estuary of National Significance.”

For more details about The Maritime Aquarium, Spirit of the Sound, and the Aquarium’s educational programming out on Long Island Sound, call 203-852-0700 or visit

 bwgb may 2014a

Dave Sigworth is publicist for The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.






Comments are closed.