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Visit NOAA's Photo Library and view hundreds of historic and contemporary images and photos of ships and ship work.

Visit today's
NOAA Fleet at the NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations Web site.

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NOAA has a rich maritime heritage encompassing vessels that have sailed into all oceans of the world collecting data and specimens, mapping seafloor and water column, and observing the interactions between ocean and atmosphere. NOAA ships and the vessels of its ancestor agencies including the Commission of Fish and Fisheries and the Coast Survey have been instrumental in advancing our understanding of the seas and helping protect the living resources of our fisheries. NOAA ancestor agency ships were the first of any nation to conduct systematic david star jordan shipoceanographic studies beginning with Gulf Stream studies in 1845, pioneered in helping understand the complexity of deepsea topography, and markedly increased our understanding of ecological relationships within the sea as well as helped expand the knowledge of the diversity of life in the oceans of the world. Notable NOAA ancestor vessels that have advanced our knowledge of the marine environment include the Coast and Geodetic Survey Steamer BLAKE that made classic Gulf Stream studies and was probably the most innovative oceanographic research vessel of the Nineteenth Century, the Fisheries Research Ship ALBATROSS which has been credited with discovering more new marine species than any other research vessel, and the PIONEER which was instrumental in discovering magnetic striping on the seafloor in the 1950’s. But beyond these vessels that have made spectacular contributions in their own right, the NOAA fleet of today and its many historic forerunners have all been part of a grand and continuing effort to chart our shores, understand and protect our fisheries, and comprehend the many complex interrelationships that affect ocean circulation patterns, climate patterns, large marine ecosytems, and even the inter-relationships between atmospheric chemistry and oceanic chemistry. The fleet operated by NOAA today is part of a continuum of ships, crews, and scientists that began with the first charting surveys of the Coast Survey.

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Coast Survey Ship Biographies
How big was it? Where did it sail? Who or what was it named for? What did it do? Read about the Coast Survey ships, over 160 of them that served our Nation by charting its waterways and studying its oceans.....

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Fisheries Ship Biographies
Since 1871, Fisheries has had many research vessels that sailed out of Woods Hole.
(NE Fisheries Science Center, Woods Hole)

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History of the USS Oceanographer (AGS 3)
At one time the $3,000,000 luxury yacht of J.P. Morgan, Sr., the USS OCEANOGRAPHER (AGS 3) began service as a commissioned vessel ( for the second time ) on 15 August 1942 at the Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Company's yards, Norfolk, Va.
Pathfinder: Recollections of Those Who Served 1942 - 1971
These are the stories of some of those who served on the PATHFINDER during the war and in the years following.

Ship Patterson
Through the Straits of Magellan on the Patterson
Account of the passage through the Straits of Magellan during 1884 - 1885.

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Hurricane "Florence" versus Ship HYDROGRAPHER
Ride out a hurricane with the Coast and Geodetic Survey Ship HYDROGRAPHER in the Gulf of Mexico in 1953.
The Origins and Early History of the Steamer Albatross, 1880-1887

Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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