R/V Sally Ride came together in six years,
painstakingly assembled piece by piece
from a skeletal frame to sturdy seafarer.
What once was a patchwork of mottled
steel plates now boasts a gleaming coat
of red, white and blue paint. And if that
doesn’t inspire national pride on behalf of
American scientific exploration, the ship’s
commitment to the most cutting-edge
equipment and lab spaces should.
No one knows more about that equip-
ment than Paul Bueren, the Sally Ride ’s
senior chief engineer, who has been with
Scripps for 35 years. Though Bueren
spends more than half his year at sea,
he was stationed dockside in Anacortes
throughout construction of the Sally Ride.
“It was my first time being part of a
new ship being built from scratch,” says
Bueren. Working closely with repre-
sentatives from the Navy and other
government entities, Bueren was tasked
with overseeing the ship’s construction,
offering his expertise at every stage.
Bueren is intimately familiar with
every last nut and bolt on the Sally Ride,
which is especially evident when it comes
to the ship’s scientific equipment. “Watch
your step,” he warned as we descended
a narrow ladder from a computer room
humming with servers to the bowels of
the ship. A narrow bridge with railings
floats above the floor, where various
pieces of sensitive equipment below are
hidden beneath protective metal sheaths.
Here below the waterline, an array of
advanced sonar and other sensor systems
will enable scientists to do everything
from mapping the seafloor to measuring
colossal underwater waves.
The efficiency-minded ship is designed
for oceanographic research of every vari-
ety, including biological, physical, chemi-
cal and geological. The Sally Ride features
25 berths for scientists, along with 2,000
square feet of configurable lab space and
3,000 square feet of deck space. The sup-
port equipment is especially eye-catching.
AF T CONTROL
CRANE CONTROL STATION
LOAD HANDLING SYS TEM
CTD LAUNCH &
MADE IN THE USA
WORKING ON DECK:
WHERE SCIENCE MEE TS THE SEA
Scientists get down to business on R/V Sally
Ride’s fantail and work deck — where
instruments are launched and recovered,
temporary science systems are installed and
portable seagoing laboratory vans can be
secured. Heavy lifting devices (like the stern
A-frame) handle the ship’s special scientific
cables, which are used to lower equipment to
the deepest points in the ocean — as deep as
10,000 meters (more than six miles) below.
ROBOT ARMS AND HEAVELESS WINCHES
Deploying and recovering oceanographic instruments and
sampling systems is the lifeblood of a research vessel. Sally Ride
carries specialized heavy cranes, articulating booms and
motion-compensated winches that enable our marine technicians
to get instruments into and out of the water safely and carefully.
PRECISE MANEUVERABILI T Y
Dual controllable-pitch propellers, assisted by an
azimuthing bow thruster and a stern tunnel thruster,
afford remarkable control. Sally Ride can do an
in-place 360, which is important when the ship has a
$500,000 instrument hanging at the end of 6,000
meters of wire over the starboard side — and the
seas change. Turning the vessel in place may be the
difference between a successful mission and the
catastrophic loss of an instrument.
INSIDE THE R/V SALLY RIDE