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The Hydraulics Laboratory provides expertise, space, facilities, and equipment for physical and biological oceanographic research and climate studies. Facilities and staff are available on a recharge basis.  It is intended that scientists wishing to conduct experiments in one of its facilities be provided with the necessary space and basic utilities. Certain types of laboratory, electronic and photographic equipment are also available. Specialized instrumentation is to be provided by the user. The laboratory staff is available to assist in the design, fabrication, and calibration of laboratory and field instruments, oceanographic and biological research devices, and other engineering projects including those which use the Hydraulics Laboratory's unique suite of facilities.

Upon completion of an experimental set up, the user will normally be expected to remove the apparatus to make room for others, unless the equipment is considered to be of potential value to other users.

Policies and Procedures


  • 1964 - Hydraulics Laboratory is constructed to study the various laws governing water in motion.  The first facilities built are the Deep Tank, Glass Walled Wave Channel, and the Wave Basin.
  • 1970 - Wind Wave Channel becomes operational.
  • 1982 - Stratified Flow Channel is developed to enhance the understanding of the fluid mechanics crucial to many ocean processes and studies. The flow is driven by two pumps purchased from military surplus.  The pumps had been the main condenser circulating pumps on the USS Ross DD-563 a Fletcher Class destroyer that served in WWII.
  • 1986 - Pressure/Temperature Calibration Facility is built for the Northern California Coastal Circulation Study (NCCCS), funded by the Minerals Management Service. NCCCS was a 5-year physical oceanography program to describe the circulation on the continental shelf and upper slope between San Francisco and the Oregon border.
  • 2010 - Seawater chiller with 15 ton capacity installed. The chiller can support the deep tank, both wave channels and any other facility which could be constructed in the lab.  It also can be used as a heat pump so it can run in reverse and warm seawater.  Shortly after becoming operational, NOAA used both features during a test in the 75,700 L (20,000 gallons) Deep Tank. First chilling the water to 1 C and then heating it up to 26 C.  It took about three days for each cycle to complete.
  • 2012 - 5700 L (1500 gallon) test tank installed in Hydraulics Laboratory basement for Martz Lab to test autonomous pH instruments.
  • 2014 - 50 years of scientific research
  • 2016 - After a year's fabrication a new Glass Walled Wave Channel comes online.  The laboratory undergoes a major cleanup and overhaul that includes the removal of the Deep Tank and Stratified Flow Channel.