Research Vessel Zephyr is a ready-to-work charter vessel, based in the Pacific Northwest with many expeditions under her waterline, from San Diego, CA, to Dutch Harbor, AK, including the Columbia River. Zephyr's crew have extensive experience working with science teams and construction professionals. If you are looking for a versatile and capable small ship, the research vessel Zephyr can help you achieve your goals. We can re-position as needed to just about anywhere. We are skilled in acoustic mooring deployment and retrieval, underwater vehicle deployment and retrieval, marine construction, fish-tagging charters and safety escort as well as UAS drone operations and more.
Our NAICS codes are 487210, 488330, 483114 and 483212. We are listed in SAM.gov under Outbound Marine. DUNS# 020218211
A photo is worth a thousand words; a video is worth a million. This video highlights the Research Vessel Zephyr's capabilities. Below the photo gallery, you'll find more videos featuring work in more depth.
The Great Salmon Mystery by Lynda Mapes: This Seattle Times article explains the project that brings together NOAA scientists and Zephyr crew off the Washington coast. Spanning 2018 through 2020, we recover and deploy hundreds of receivers, and tag hundreds of juvenile salmon.
US Navy COMSUBPAC
US Geological Survey
Naval Research Laboratory
Oregon State University
Ocean Observatories Initiative
US Army SOCOM
US Army Corps of Engineers
University of San Diego Scripps
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
NOAA Marine Mammal Laboratory
Ocean Floor Geophysics
Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet
Innovative Professional Services
Jacobs Technology Inc
Zephyr can accommodate a cradle and ramp for UUV's up to 21' in length. The deck extension and bracketry was proven in 2022 with two weeks worth of launches and recoveries using Bluefin Robotics vehicles.
In February and March 2020, Zephyr provided the platform for Fisheries and Oceans Canada to conduct an acoustic survey in BC waters near the Gulf Islands and the Strait of Georgia where Southern Killer Resident Whales are known to transit. During this twenty day charter, a CAB (coastal acoustic buoy) was deployed and retrieved, sounds were projected from various ranges and radials, CTD casts were performed, and the zodiac was launched for tasks.
In July-August 2019, Research Vessel Zephyr fulfilled a NOAA Marine Mammal Survey. This project incorporated a visual and acoustic survey for all marine mammals throughout most of Southeast Alaska from South of Ketchikan up to Icy Strait and Glacier Bay incorporating almost all inlets and channels. We covered over 3500 Nautical miles during 26 days of charter. The project was permitted for and required close quarters vessel operation near marine mammals including humpbacks, killer whales, harbor and dall's porpoises. As part of this project we also towed a 200 meter passive hydrophone tuned to whale and porpoise acoustic calls for the majority of the survey.
In June-July 2021, Research Vessel Zephyr was chartered by Alaska BioMap & NOAA scientists for a Juvenile Pacific Cod Survey. This 5 week expedition took us from Juneau, to Sitka, across to Price William Sound, Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak and down the pan-handle to the Shumagin & Pavlof Islands. One team launched and recovered baited cameras from our 21' skiff Vortex captained by Ashley, while a second team beach-seined from our 16' Zodiac captained by Bob Bergstrom.
RV Zephyr and crew have worked with numerous gliders in various sea states from calm water up to 7-10' seas in the North Pacific. In July 2022, we launched a glider 250 miles offshore for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. In May and June 2022, we launched and later recovered a wave glider for US Geological Survey off northern California. In January 2022, we went 200 miles offshore to recover a glider for OSU. In October 2020, we launched 2 gliders over 400 nautical miles offshore the Oregon Coast. In June 2020, we were called to rescue a damaged Slocum glider that was unable to maneuver and was located over 400 nautical miles off shore of Cape Flattery, WA. With just 24 hours notice, we assembled a crew and departed on an 1150 nautical mile, 5 day mission to retrieve this glider and another companion unit that was ten hours south. Both gliders were retrieved safely.
In August of 2019 we deployed 2 gliders for the US Navy and OSU working out of Neah Bay, WA. One malfunctioned and we retrieved it later the same day.
In October 2018, we headed out for an emergency mission for OSU to recover a Kongsberg sea glider that had a battery failure 250 miles off of Trinidad Head, CA. It was a 600 mile rough weather transit with 24 hours departure notice and successful recovery in fog at midnight. This recovery required a swimmer to enter the water and "lasso" the unit as it did not have any sort of bale mounted.
In March 2020, RV Zephyr deployed fish tag receiver moorings off the west coast of Vancouver Island for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This deployment was supposed to have a couple more people aboard to help, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency science team was required to stay home. Zephyr crew, Ron and Ashley, were able to complete the job.
In late summer 2019, Zephyr recovered and re-deployed hundreds of fish tag receivers off the Washington coast with NOAA Fisheries.
In May 2018 with NOAA fisheries, we worked with NOAA Fisheries to deploy acoustic moorings near Winchester Bay, OR, for counting tagged endangered green sturgeon. We recovered the moorings three weeks later. Also as part of this contract, we recovered a joint NOAA/OSU Teledyne Slocum sea glider. In September, the moorings and the sea glider were deployed and recovered successfully again.
Zephyr deployed a scientific wave-rider buoy for Coastal Data Information Program of UCSD Scripps in the Straight of Juan de Fuca. We maintain the buoy by regularly cleaning off kelp and debris that it collects and occasionally diving on the mooring for inspection. When it's time to replace, we recover the old one and mooring, and deploy a new buoy and mooring system. We also clean & dive on the moorings on numerous other CDIP buoys along the Pacific coast.
In April 2017, Zephyr mobilized from Port Angeles, WA, to San Diego, CA, for a 30 day research charter for DARPA working on the POSYDON undersea acoustic positioning research project. Operating as far as 500 miles offshore during this support project, Zephyr and crew were instrumental in accomplishing 100% of the project's necessary data acquisition for moving forward into Phase II of the development. We provided four crew and hosted six scientists. Necessary equipment was welded to the deck, including winches for a mile of acoustic cable and a USBL pole mount, and a computer lab was set up in the salon.
Outfitted with an 8' USBL pole and mounting system, RV Zephyr has been deployed for hydrographic survey work for the EPA and USACE on dredge spoil sites. Clients brought rented multi-beam sonar systems that were installed on the vessel and completed multi day sonar surveys covering over 1.5 square miles offshore.
In August 2018, Zephyr hosted a NOAA fisheries team capturing and tagging juvenile salmon along the coast of Washington. In Spring and late summer of 2019, the same team fished off Zephyr on several multi-day trips.
In June 2018, the Zephyr Team was hired to provide construction support for a US Army Corps of Engineers job in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. We transported 3,500 lbs of supplies and equipment across the Gulf of Alaska on a 1,655 NM voyage to the Carl E. Moses facility and assisted in the repair of the 1,000 foot breakwater. Zephyr provided accommodations and meals for the construction crew, as well as a skiff and crane use during the construction project.
In fall of 2016, Zephyr completed a 31 day charter for the US Navy Comsubpac. Zephyr served as a safety and range clearance vessel for the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Connecticut, which was performing sea trials after a lengthy service interval. Zephyr's duties included maintaining a round the clock watch for any vessels in the area via RADAR, AIS and visual means, and communicating by VHF radio to warn them away from the established security zone. Our team maintained underwater communications with the sub, exchanging positions, providing positions of the surface vessels in the area to the sub, and maintaining a continuous record of the sub's position for emergency use.
June 2017, Zephyr was again chosen to provide escort and safety services for the US Navy during sea trials for the 560' nuclear-powered missile submarine, USS Nebraska. Similar to the escort for the USS Connecticut, Zephyr and crew provided bunks and board for two naval officers and a tech rep, while keeping the sea surface clear of vessel traffic and maintaining position and communications with the submarine on a 24 hour per day watch.
In June 2016, Zephyr was volunteered as a communications relay and safety vessel for a segment of the Race to Alaska, also known as R2AK, a 750 mile human and wind powered race from Port Townsend, WA to Ketchikan, AK. We provided VHF radio links from Port Townsend, WA, to Victoria, BC, while positioned in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and stood by for emergency operations, if needed, with our 21' RIB.
In June 2018, we provided volunteer support to the NW Maritime Center events Seventy-48 and R2AK, acting as radio relay and medical and chase vessel support base.
In July and August 2018, we traveled from Dutch Harbor, AK to Kodiak, Sitka, Juneau, Wrangell, Ketchikan, and down the Inside Passage back to the Puget Sound. Guests joined us for portions of this journey.
In September 2016, 2017, and 2018, the Zephyr crew volunteered as Harbor Masters for the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival using our two skiffs as tugboats, maneuvering the larger boats in the show into their berths.
From 2016 to present, we also have conducted many private recreational passenger charters.