Research vessel Bob and Betty Beyster


Specifications | Deck Plan | Equipment | Planning and Scheduling

The Research Vessel Bob and Betty Beyster is a purpose-built coastal research vessel designed for efficient operations offshore Southern California and throughout the Channel Islands. Operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography from our home port (the world-class Nimitz Marine Facility in Point Loma), Bob and Betty Beyster is a shared-use research facility that is available for use by scientists, engineers, students and educators supported by federal, state, local and non-governmental agencies.

Scientific Capabilities

R/V Bob and Betty Beyster is a general-purpose oceanographic research vessel constructed by Armstrong Marine in Port Angeles, WA and delivered to Scripps Oceanography in 2019. This vessel was made possible by generous support in honor of Dr. J. Robert Beyster, founder of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and his widow Betty Beyster (see story linked here).

Bob and Betty Beyster features a dynamic positioning system (DPS) that integrates GPS navigation data with propulsion controls to automatically maintain heading and position, even in strong currents and windy conditions. This capability, previously available only on much larger oceanographic research ships, allows Bob and Betty Beyster to conduct scientific operations requiring precise stationkeeping never before possible on a coastal research boat. This, in conjunction with the boat's capable navigation and propulsion systems, enables precise vessel handling required for CTD casts, open-ocean instrument mooring placement, remotely-operated vehicle deployments, and other scientific operations that require reliable stationkeeping.

Bob and Betty Beyster has an efficient catamaran hull design and computer-controlled dual-drive propulsion that enable the boat to transit rapidly to research sites. With an efficient cruising speed of 25 knots, the entire southern California coastal zone and Channel Islands are within reach.

The vessel has a large, strong A-frame with a useable lifting capacity of 5,000 pounds, which enables heavy and sensitive oceanographic equipment to be safely lowered, raised and towed by the vessel. A knuckle crane on the starboard flybridge allows instruments and platforms to be deployed and recovered with confidence. 

The vessel's scientific equipment includes a seafloor mapping system, a hand-deployable remotely operated vehicle, an acoustic communications transducer, and an electronics rack that allows user-provided sensor and computing systems to be quickly and securely integrated on board.

A key feature of general-purpose research vessels is their ability to accept new and evolving research instrumentation, and Beyster features engineered deck sockets that enable quick and secure mounting of portable sensors and equipment. The vessel also includes a quiet, powerful generator that provides 9 kilowatts of reliable three-phase power for instruments and computing systems that may be brought aboard by scientists.

These capabilities result in a capable and highly adaptable platform for scientific research across all disciplines of marine science.

Philanthropic Support


R/V Bob and Betty Beyster is owned by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and was acquired by the institution thanks to philanthropic support that raised more than $1.2 million for the vessel. The vessel was supported by a variety of donors in honor of the late Dr. J. Robert Beyster, founder of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and his widow Betty Beyster.


Read more about donor support for R/V Bob and Betty Beyster


Endowment for Student Support: Access to ship time is vital for Scripps students because it enables independent research and practical application of what they learn ashore. We have established an endowment to support student use of R/V Bob and Betty Beyster -- won't you support the next generation of seagoing scientists? Contributions to the endowment can be made online here or by contacting the Scripps Development office: (858) 822-1865 or