Section 1: Welcome Aboard

Captain's Letter

Welcome aboard R/V New Horizon. The crew and I wish to make your cruise an enjoyable and productive one, and, above all, a safe one. The operation of this vessel is governed by federal and international laws concerned with the safety of life at sea, as well as UCSD rules and regulations. Please read and comply with what follows. There will be a ship's safety and orientation meeting in the ship's library shortly after departing the harbor; all scientific personnel are expected to attend.

Emergencies: After moving aboard take a few minutes to become familiar with the following information; it could save your life:

  • Study the Crew Station Card affixed to your bunk. A few items to memorize are your bunk or billet number, your muster station and life raft assignment and emergency signals.
  • For all emergencies scientific personnel muster outside on the 01 deck just forward of the winches. Visit your muster station and locate the life raft to which you are assigned.
  • Locate your life jacket which can be found over the locker in most rooms. Exposure suits are in an outside locker on the 02 deck.
  • Locate all escape routes from your berthing area including escape hatches in overheads. Also note the kickout panels in the lower portion of all stateroom doors.
  • On the day of departure, and once a week thereafter, fire and abandon-ship drills will be conducted. Proper attire for emergency mustering is long pants, long-sleeve shirt or jacket, hat, covered shoes and life jackets properly donned. The weekly drills are a serious practice designed for the safety of all on board. All hands are required to participate.

Safety: Safety is paramount. At all times be acutely aware of what is going on around you both inside the ship and, especially, out on deck. Be aware of running lines and even standing lines which may take a sudden strain. Anyone involved in an operation where equipment is over the side must wear a work vest. At night, notify the bridge if you will be going out on deck and then notify the bridge again when you are back inside. The bridge officer will observe the proceedings on deck and will halt any operation until safety precautions are observed.

  • Study the areas of the ship where you will be working and note the locations of safety and emergency equipment.
  • Know how to communicate with the bridge.
  • Report all injuries, no matter how seemingly insignificant or minor, to the bridge officer at once.

Fresh Water: Potable water is manufactured on board; however, the supply is not limitless. Practice water conservation at all times. Wait until you have a full load before using the laundry and turn the shower nozzle off while you're soaping up. In the labs use only what is necessary. Use filtered or uncontaminated sea water whenever possible.

Alcoholic Beverages: Personal supplies of alcoholic beverages are strictly forbidden. If you purchase alcohol in a foreign port and wish to bring it back to the U.S., turn it in to the captain for storage "in bond." The only alcoholic beverage allowed aboard Scripps vessels are those which are under the direct control and supervision of the captain.

Beer is available for purchase on board for a nominal charge. Sales are limited to one can per person per day and normally take place during the evening meal. Beer must be consumed when purchased; stock-piling is forbidden.

Dangerous weapons: Weapons such as sheath knives, black jacks, etc., are prohibited on board. The captain will impound these and any other items which, in his judgment, might be used as weapons. Firearms may be permitted aboard for recreational purposes, but only with the approval of the captain who shall arrange for the stowage of such items.

Bridge and Engine Room: Visitors to the bridge and engine room are most of the time. There will be times, however, such as leaving or entering the harbor, when visitors are not permitted; check with the watch officer.

Staterooms: Please maintain your rooms, heads and labs in a neat and sanitary condition. There are no stewards on board. While members of the crew do have responsibility for cleaning of general areas, they are not maids; please clean up after yourself. Check with any crew member for the location of cleaning gear you may need. At the end of the cruise, clean your room and return books and magazines to the library.

Linen: Fresh linen is issued weekly immediately following the emergency drills. Deposit soiled linens in a laundry sack located by the washer and dryer forward of the mess deck. If you need extra blankets, pillows, towels, etc., ask one of the cooks.

Garbage: Please read the ship's Waste Management Plan posted in the mess deck and the labs. Note that it is illegal to dispose of plastics at sea and that there are limits established for the dumping of other kinds of trash. There are pairs of trash cans in the mess deck and labs; one for degradable trash and one for plastics. Please help us by ensuring that your trash gets into the appropriate container in the first place. It is not a pleasant task to sort the trash after it has been collected.

At meal times scrape all food scraps, except bones, into the galley sink for disposal through the grinder.

Meals: Meals are served cafeteria style. Please be prompt for meals. Seating is informal. For large scientific parties two seatings may be necessary. Proper attire, including shirt and footwear, is required on the mess deck. When finished eating, take your plate and utensils to the galley sink. Unless otherwise posted, meal hours are as follows:

  At Sea In Port
Breakfast 0730 - 0815 0730 - 0800
Lunch 1130 - 1215 1200 - 1230
Dinner 1700 - 1800 1700 - 1730

The mess deck will be secured for 30 minutes prior to and immediately following each meal for set-up and clean-up; please avoid the area during these times.

Bon Voyage! 
Captain Eric C. Buck


INTRODUCTION - The purpose of this handbook is to acquaint personnel with the characteristics and capabilities of R/V New Horizon. It provides a good review of what can and cannot be done on the ship, and lists sources of more detailed information. It directs your attention to a number of important safety matters. We hope that by reading it well in advance of your cruise you will spot problems in time to seek out satisfactory solutions, see how to prepare more smoothly and efficiently, and perhaps discover new or better ways to accomplish a certain task.

REVISIONS - The handbook is subject to ongoing revisions. We want it to represent the best information available from the experience of personnel at sea, and so we comments or corrections, suggestions for better arrangement of material, additions, etc. Please send any such input directly to the Ship Scheduling Office.

A CAUTIONARY NOTE ON ACCURACY - While reasonable efforts are made to update the handbook as needed and to issue new versions in the wake of significant changes on the ship, it is impossible to assure complete accuracy at all times. In all cases, make your particular research equipment needs known on the Ship Time Request Form and contact relevant technical support groups to ensure that critical gear is ready for your work.

OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION - SIO produces a Chief Scientist's Manual which "summarizes the regulations, restrictions, customs, and traditions under which all research aboard SIO vessels is carried out". It is available from the Ship Scheduling Office, the resident technicians, or the captain. It emphasizes rules and procedures, whereas this handbook treats ship features and capabilities. Available in all scientific state rooms is the UNOLS RVOC Safety Training Manual, Research Party Supplement. The RVOC Safety Manual is available aboard as well. In addition, A Manual for Seagoing Scientists describes life on a research ship, including social interactions, routine work, customs, and more on safety. There is overlap between the three, and chief scientists should read all of them.

Schedules, ship-layouts and other ship related information are available on the World Wide Web. This may be accessed via the SOMTS home page at

Most scientific cruises will wish to make use of the technical support, equipment, or advice of one or more of the technician groups at SIO. In all cases a timely and clear explanation of your needs is to your advantage. The principal groups are listed on the next page. Most of these groups are recharge activities.

Other Sources of Information

The offices and individuals listed can be contacted for assistance in cruise planning or matters concerning the vessel.

History of R/V New Horizon

Scripps Institution of Oceanography's R/V New Horizon is named in memory of the R/V Horizon which launched the institution's major expeditions. R/V Horizon operated first off California, and then in the world oceans, from 1949 to 1969. New Horizon's design originated in a study made in 1965 by the late Maxwell Silverman, research engineer at Scripps, and Prof. J. R. (Randy) Paulling, Jr., of the Department of Naval Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. They tested modifications of the hull form of then-standard mass-produced Gulf Coast work boats, to find one that would be more suitable for oceanographic work, but still inexpensive to build. Silverman then took one of these hull modifications, and developed specifications for a new class of research ships to replace the aging R/V Horizon and other converted ships used in oceanographic research. This study culminated in a set of ship plans, labeled "NEW HORIZON", which were submitted to the National Science Foundation in conceptual form in September, 1966, and later worked out in greater detail. These plans included many innovative features such as use of a shallow-draft broad-beam workboat hull with house forward with modifications of hull form for better "sea-kindliness", careful design to keep the admeasured tonnage below 300 tons, provision of standardized bolt-down fittings at 2-foot spacing on deck and within lab spaces, provision for "portability" of deck equipment, and use of standard ISO vans for additional lab spaces, living spaces, explosives magazines, and deck equipment. These "NEW HORIZON" plans inspired federal planning and funding of the class of "intermediate" research ships built over the following decade, even though that ship itself was never built. The plans influenced the design of nearly every oceanographic ship built since that time.

The first of the new class of "Intermediate" ships was the R/V Columbus Iselin, designed by the late Rudolph F. Matzer, and built for the University of Miami with NSF funding. The plans for R/V Columbus Iselin were in turn used later by Matzer as the basis for the design of a new ship for Scripps. The name New Horizon was therefore chosen not only to commemorate the old R/V Horizon but also the landmark "NEW HORIZON" design study, and the "new horizons" being opened by studies of the oceans.

The contract to build New Horizon was awarded to Atlantic Marine, Inc., of Fort George Island, Florida in 1977. The $4 million ship was completed on October 24, 1978 in time to join the Scripps fleet during the year of the institution's 75th anniversary. New Horizon was dedicated on January 25, 1979 at her home berth at Nimitz Marine Facility in San Diego. Most of the funding for construction was provided by the State of California, which is by far the most significant contribution from any state for the construction of an oceanographic research vessel.

Much of the support for New Horizon's operations is provided by the State of California. This is because her primary mission is to support work done by Scripps' Marine Life Research Group, which participates in the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI), a program for fisheries and environmental studies of the California Current.

New Horizon is capable of multi-disciplinary programs in any part of the ocean except the polar seas, but operates primarily in the eastern North Pacific Ocean. A large proportion of her cruises take place offshore of California and Baja California. She is able to engage in all fields of oceanographic research and is known for her flexibility in design, ability to keep station precisely, and rapid turn-around capability. R/V New Horizon is a UNOLS (University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System) vessel, conforming to UNOLS safety and operating standards. Use of the ship is available to qualified investigators from any institution.