Story and photos by Dorie Cox
Nova Southeastern University undergraduate students were encouraged to imagine working onboard the recently launched R/V W.T. Hogarth during a tour on Monday at Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale. The coastal flats vessel, built by Duckworth Steel Boats, is available to schools for use through grant-assisted programs. The students learned about onboard testing equipment including the fisheries eco-sounders, the dual head swath bathymetry machine, and wet and dry labs.
The 78-foot vessel is the newest in a fleet managed by the Florida Institute of Oceanography, according to Director Philip Kramer.
Exposure to time at sea is critical for students to help them stay interested and enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses, known as STEM, he said during the tour.
“It’s a floating lab for all academic institutions because there is no substitute for hands-on learning,” Kramer said.
Use of the vessel is made available through a consortium known as the Marine Research Hub of South Florida, which is comprised of Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Nova Southeastern University (NSU), Florida International University (FIU), the University of Miami (UM), The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County (BDB), the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance (the Alliance), the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, and the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF).
The consortium offers a variety of options to become involved, according to Bernhard Riegl, professor and chair of the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences Professor at Nova Southeastern University in Dania Beach, Florida. Private vessels, including yachts, are encouraged to contact the group to host a research program onboard, Riegl said.
“M/Y Golden Shadow is an example,” Riegl said of a yacht that has worked for years with the program. “There are options, such as mapping, that need little equipment and are not a mess. We can easily talk out any ideas and come to a confluence of interest.”
The R/V Hogarth moved to the Miami Beach Marina where it will stay until Friday, Feb. 2.