NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter

Welcome aboard the NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter—a 224-foot, multi-use research vessel. Originally built in 1989 as the U.S. Naval Ship Relentless, this ship was transferred to NOAA in 1993 and commissioned as the Gordon Gunter on August 28, 1998.

Operated by NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, today the Gordon Gunter primarily serves NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service with a homeport at the NOAA Fisheries Pascagoula Laboratory in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The ship operates primarily in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean, and Caribbean Sea.


Science and Research Support

Small vessels can be launched from NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter for research purposes, such as more up-close observation of marine mammals. Click image for larger view.

Researchers aboard the Gordon Gunter conduct scientific surveys of the health and abundance of fishery resources and marine mammals.

The Gordon Gunter boasts laboratory spaces with wet, dry, chemistry, and electronic equipment that include a seawater-sampling system and thermosalinograph for measuring surface seawater temperature, salinity, and fluorescence. Within these laboratory spaces, scientists can process and analyze collected samples and specimens, conduct acoustic monitoring, track communications from submersibles, and access a small marine reference library.

To aid in the survey and observation of marine mammals, the top of the Pilot House of the Gordon Gunter can be equipped with up to three “big eyes” binocular telescopes.

Oceanographic winches allow the deployment of oceanographic equipment, submersibles, and small vessels from the ship. The Gordon Gunter is also equipped to collect fisheries research data by stern trawling, long lining, and deploying various plankton nets and other types of gear.


Navigation and Communications

The Gordon Gunter is fitted with modern Global Positioning System navigation electronics and a modern communication system that allows data to be transmitted at sites around the world.

As with many NOAA fleet vessels, this vessel relies on an onboard oceanographic system called the Scientific Computer System (SCS). The SCS is a network that collects, stores, processes, retrieves, and sends a variety of oceanographic data from navigation and environmental sensors, bathymetric sonar systems, and other mission sensors. Internet access is readily available on the ship.


The Crew

The Gordon Gunter carries four NOAA Corps officers, 11 crew members, and up to 15 scientists. The ship can endure up to 30 days at sea with a range of 8,000 nautical miles and a cruising speed of 10.5 knots.

All together, the Gordon Gunter is well outfitted for a wide range of oceanographic research and fisheries assessments, from surveys on the health and abundance of commercial and recreational fish to observing the distribution of marine mammals.


To learn more:

NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter, NOAA Marine Operations Center