R/V Lookdown Joins the CES Fleet
Washington College’s newest research vessel arrived on the Chester River recently, and students and scientists are excited to put her skills to the test. Before arriving in Chestertown, the R/V Lookdown was used as a fast, heavy duty Coast Guard port security vessel (bullet-proof hull and all!). From there, she was transferred to NOAA, which used her for mapping projects after adding extensive sonar equipment and a custom-built aluminum cabin. Dr. Douglas Levin, CES associate director and a former NOAA scientist, knew about the boat’s mapping abilities and realized the potential research opportunities she would bring to Washington College students.
“To have a boat dedicated to underwater mapping at an undergraduate institution, which will equip students with experience to rival that of graduate institutions, is extremely rare,” Levin says.
The R/V Lookdown’s primary function will be to assist the CES and Washington College students as they begin the new and exciting task of mapping the floor of the Chester River. Mapping this far up the river has never been done before, and the collection of this data will be invaluable to monitoring and maintaining healthy environmental conditions throughout the Chesapeake Bay, a goal that Washington College and the CES have been working hard to achieve. The R/V Lookdown will also give students the opportunity to work one-on-one with Levin and other research scientists.
Lookdown’s captain, Michael Gosman, says the boat is a great new platform because it is small and versatile, needing few crew and being easily hauled from the water and trailered to different research areas. “The Lookdown’s small size will also allow scientists the opportunity to map and conduct research on delicate coastal environments which were not previously accessible using larger research vessels … this type of technology will allow for strategic environmental planning as well as invaluable research experience.”
The R/V Lookdown has already generated research for several students completing their senior capstone experiences and will open up countless innovative opportunities at Washington College. She joins the R/V Callinectes as a part of the CES fleet.
This article was written by CES Intern Whitley Purnell. Whitley is a senior Biology major at Washington College and the Event Planning Intern for the Center.