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Burger Boat to build USGS research vessel

Written by Nick Blenkey

graylingJULY 30, 2013 — The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has awarded a contract to Burger Boat Company, Manitowoc, WI, for the construction of a large research vessel for Lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior.

The vessel will replace the 38-year-old Grayling, bringing the USGS Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) large vessel fleet up-to-date. Stationed at the USGS base in Cheboygan, MI, the Grayling will incorporate modern marine standards and state-of-the-art technology to more safely and effectively conduct fisheries research.

“The entire Burger team is very excited to be awarded this significant contract,” said Jim Ruffolo, President and CEO of Burger Boat Company. “The new Grayling will further reinforce Burger’s commitment to designing and constructing quality vessels that meet each owner’s specific requirements, whether they are custom yachts or commercial vessels.”

This new contract will create additional highly skilled shipbuilding jobs at Burger and the project will help support numerous jobs at companies that supply raw materials and equipment for the project.

“I am delighted to have achieved this important milestone that will benefit the Great Lakes region for many decades,” said USGS GLSC Director Russell Strach. “This investment would not have been possible without the support from many key partners. The new research vessel will come fully equipped with 21st century laboratories and scientific instrumentation to support fishery science for the Great Lakes.”

The 78-foot Grayling will be designed and constructed for a 40 to 50-year service life. This vessel will be capable of performing critical scientific and mission-related tasks, including dragging nets along the lake bottom, catching fish, and using sound-waves to detect fish and assess their abundance. JMS Naval Architects of Mystic, CT, developed the preliminary design of the new Grayling.

For over 50 years the USGS GLSC has operated a unique and valuable deepwater fish ecology and assessment program that is the foundation for fisheries management throughout the Great Lakes.

Length Overall:    77′ 05″ (23.6 m)
Length Waterline:    69′ 11″ (21.3 m)
Breadth:    26′ 00” (7.9 m)
Hull Depth:    11′ 00” (3.4 m)
Full Load Navigational Draft:    8′ 01” (2.5 m)
Full Speed:    10.5 Knots
Cruising Speed:    9.5 Knots

Hull and Superstructure Material:    Steel
Full Load Displacement:    178 long tons (180 metric tons)
Lightship Displacement:   135 long tons (137 metric tons)


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