Research Vessels

Shannon Point Marine Center's vessels support WWU students, researchers, and outside partners in a variety of research operations across the Salish Sea. 

A SPMC vessel sits next to a buoy in the water

RV Magister

RV Magister is a 34-foot aluminum hull vessel with a passenger capacity of 12.  It is designed for deploying oceanographic equipment such as CTDs, sediment corers, ROVs, and plankton nets.

Students aboard a SPMC vessel collect samples with a plankton net.

RV Zoea

RV Zoea is a 32-foot aluminum hull vessel with a passenger capacity of 11. This vessel is designed to run biological sampling nets, bottom sediment samplers, and ROVs.  A drop-down bow door and open deck also make this a good platform for SCUBA operations.

Requesting a Vessel

To request the use of a research vessel, please submit the request form below, and we will reach out to you to discuss and confirm your trip. While priority is given to WWU courses and research, we also support outside researchers.

Questions about vessel capabilities can be directed to Boating Safety Officer Nate Schwarck at 360-770-4277 or

Research Vessel Fees

RV Magister, Zoea, or Fauna (minimum 2 hours):

  • Non-WWU: $165/hour 
  • WWU Research: $121/hour
  • WWU Courses: $44/hour 

Other Fees:

  • Research Technician Fee: $40/hour
  • Diver Fee: $100/hour
  • Scuba tank air fills: $15/fill

Vessel Usage

Shannon Point Marine Center vessels are designated by the US Coast Guard as Oceanographic Research Vessels (ORV). 

The ORV designation restricts persons aboard to scientists or scientists-in-training and requires that vessels be used only for oceanographic study.  Our groups of WWU students and researchers may be expanded to include others who are connected to WWU and participating in oceanographic activities (e.g., scientific dive team members, research associates, members of the media documenting research, etc.). Individuals in these latter categories must complete a hold-harmless form and be approved by the SPMC Boating Safety Officer. Anyone outside these designated groups can travel on an SPMC vessel only with approval from the SPMC Boating Safety Committee.

Authorization of Boat Operators

Individuals may become authorized boat operators of smaller vessels through the following process:

  1. Review the Boating Safety Manual
  2. Submit a Vessel Operator Application (contact Nate Schwarck)
  3. Obtain a Washington State Boater Education Card
  4. Demonstrate ability to safely operate a boat as determined by the BSO