R/V Sally Ride is entering the last few weeks of a planned shipyard period. Crew members and technicians involved in the process have shared that the ship is almost unrecognizable as work is being done from top to bottom to make it a more efficient and adaptable member of the Scripps fleet. 

Click on any of the pictures below for a larger version. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are thanks to 3rd Mate Randy Christian. If you’re interested in more, a previous post contains details and pictures about some of the main projects, and there are more pictures here

One of the biggest projects has been upgrading the forward 01 deck. This required cutting away the original deck, while making sure to protect everything in the focsle deck staterooms below. A new deck was then brought onboard using a crane and is being welded into place. This deck is stronger and has securing points so that container vans can be placed on it, allowing for better use of space on the back working deck. 

The anchor chain has all been replaced. R/V Sally Ride has an anchor on each side of the bow, plus one spare, each weighing 5,000 pounds. Anchor chain is measured in “shots,” with each shot being 90 feet long. The ship has eight shots of chain, so 720 feet total on each side, which is stored in a special locker. Each shot of chain is connected by a detachable link, (painted white and red in the pictures below). The chain closest to the ship is painted red so that it’s obvious when the last shot is being paid out. The crew wants to avoid using this section, as it’s intended to be extra in case weather warrants a longer length.

The ship has gotten new paint, including anti-fouling paint on the underwater portions, which will discourage marine plants and animals from attaching or growing there. For a little while, the ship looked very different, as the undercoat is black. Soon enough, it was back to the usual red color. Next up is the blue, which has been sanded and is ready for a fresh coat, though I kind of like the denim look it’s sporting right now.

Technicians and crew members are taking advantage of the shipyard period to make upgrades to many of the systems onboard. Running new cables, cleaning outdoor or underwater surfaces, and calibrations are all taking place. This has led to the interesting photos below of people in cramped spaces, or checking out instrumentation that is usually underwater. 

This shipyard period has been a whirlwind of activity. R/V Sally Ride is on schedule for sea trials in a few weeks, and then back to science cruises right away, returning to San Diego later this summer. Stay tuned for more! 

scripps oceanography uc san diego