The research vessel (R/V) Atlantis is owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) as part of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) fleet. Atlantis is the only ship outfitted to launch and service the human-occupied submersible, Alvin , and as such, the ship travels the world, going where ever Alvin is needed for research.
R/V Atlantis is also equipped to support general oceanographic research, with more than 3,500 square feet of laboratory space for dedicated use by the onboard science party as well as a variety of permanent tools to observe and advance understanding of our ocean, including precision navigation systems, a suite of scientific instrumentation, a multibeam system for seafloor mapping, and satellite communications. Three winches, three cranes, a machine shop, and specialized work spaces allow the ship to operate Alvin and other underwater exploration vehicles.
Atlantis is part of a class of similar Navy-owned research vessels designed and built by Halter Marine of Pascagoula, Mississippi, that include R/V Thomas G. Thompson, operated by the University of Washington; R/V Roger Revelle, operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; and NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown, operated by NOAA.
R/V Atlantis is the namesake of WHOI’s first research vessel, which was the first American ship built specifically for research in marine biology, marine geology, and physical oceanography. The space shuttle Atlantis was also named for the original WHOI research vessel.
Recent Missions Supported by the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research