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New Marine Science boat to undertake shorter trips


Wednesday 3 March 2010 2:57pm

Marine Science BoatThe University of Otago’s Department of Marine Science has purchased a new 11-metre alloy boat to free up their existing larger boat, the Polaris II, for longer, more demanding research expeditions.

The boat, currently called Toppa, but to be renamed after her benefactor, Beryl Brewin, arrived by sea from Nelson at the weekend, and is now berthed next to her larger forerunner, the Polaris II, at the Portobello Marine Laboratory.

Head of Marine Science Professor Gary Wilson says demand for local, short expeditions to support regular teaching requirements at the University has become exceedingly high, requiring the purchase of a new, smaller boat that can free up the 21-metre Polaris II for work it is designed for, such as longer expeditions to Fiordland and Stewart Island.

“We have so many requests for the Polaris that we cannot fill them all, but many of these can be carried out with a smaller vessel, which is why we have bought this new intermediate-sized and more economical boat for shorter trips,” he says.

"We are delighted to have the boat, and enormously grateful for the assistance we had to purchase it. It will make a big difference to our ability to carry out the all-important research and teaching work within the harbour and around our coast."

The new vessel will be available to other departments in the University in the same way as the Polaris II. Marine research and teaching is regularly undertaken by Marine Science, Chemistry, Geology and the Botany departments, as well as the Surveying School, and less frequently by other science departments.

Professor Wilson says the new boat has been fitted out to carry up to 20 people in enclosed waters such as Otago Harbour, and up to eight people during coastal work outside of the harbour. With a four-berth cabin, kitchen and dining facility, she can also handle overnight stays with up to four including the skipper.

Built by Challenge Marine in Nelson nine years ago, and formerly used for mussel industry work around Picton, the new vessel is equipped with a diving platform, and also has hydraulic systems to enable light equipment to be deployed. It is also capable of light-dredging work. The new vessel will be ready to start work next week.


Professor Gary Wilson,
Head of Marine Science Department,
University of Otago,
Tel 64 3 479 7509

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