Oceanographic Tools: R/V Melville

Research Vessel Melville

RV Melville is a multipurpose research ship that has served oceanographic scientists well for more than 30 years. It has sailed hundreds of thousands of miles in almost every ocean, carrying out scientific missions involving geology, geophysics, physical oceanography, marine biology, and chemical oceanography.

Melville is owned by the US Navy and operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), a graduate division of the University of California, San Diego. The ship, which is 278 feet (85 meters) long, is named after Henry Wallace Melville, a pioneer Arctic explorer and an innovative US Navy engineer who served in the early 1900s.

RV Melville was built in 1969 for SIO by the US Navy as part of a focused plan to improve the academic oceanographic fleet. It is the sister ship of the RV Knorr of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. RV Melville was overhauled about 10 years ago and lengthened by about 30 feet to add laboratory space, berthing, endurance, and working area to the fantail for large-scale oceanographic sampling expeditions. Three Z drives were added to increase maneuverability and station-keeping ability. A multibeam echo sounding system was also installed to gather high-resolution bathymetry data.

Melville carries a crew of 23 people and 38 scientists and has an endurance of about 60 days at sea. It normally cruises at a speed of 12 knots.


Learn more about the RV Melville
from Scripp's Web site including photos and specifications