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Tide Bites: A re-fit for Research Vessel Centennial

  • Written by Meegan Corcoran, FHL's new Marine Operations Manager

Friday Harbor Labs' 58-foot research vessel was built in 1990 and worked several Alaskan fisheries until she was purchased by FHL in 2002, converted for research, and re-christened Centennial in celebration of FHL's 100th anniversary.

Greetings UW Family and Friends,

Many of you have taken a R/V (Research Vessel) Centennial ride in the past fourteen years as part of your research and teaching at FHL. This has been an excellent resource for FHL researchers, courses, and outreach to the K-12 schools and the San Juan Island community.

Centennial participated in the SJI Opening Day boat parade in May, and won a prize in the commercial category.

We are proud to announce some of the great strides taken throughout 2015 to maintain and upgrade the Centennial, Friday Harbor Labs’ premier research vessel. We welcome Meegan Corcoran as the new Marine Operations Manager, finally replacing the incomparable David Duggins who retired more than a year ago.

Meegan, a fellow Husky, completed a Masters of Marine and Environmental Affairs at UW in 2013. She has years of maritime experience including eight years in the Navy and fishing in Alaska. In addition to captaining, Meegan is actively seeking new work for the R/V Centennial, while also working on repairs and upgrades.

Meegan in her element at the helm of Centennial.

Students taking water samples out of the rosette of niskin bottles that accompany the CTD.

Due to gracious donations from our awesome FHL Advancement Board members, we were able to cross many “to do’s” off our list and we are excited to share some of these with you.

The following are just some of the work accomplished onboard Centennial within the last twelve months:

  1. Removed the main boom and rebuilt/strengthened its mating with the mast
  2. Replaced the main generator
  3. Repaired three fuel standpipes
  4. Replaced overhead rigging and blocks
  5. Replaced winch cables
  6. Replaced the rudder mount
  7. Installed an intercom system from bridge to bow, salon, and back deck
  8. Replaced hydraulic hoses
  9. Replaced all overhead winch and mast bolts
  10. Tested lifting capacity of boom with new rigging

Photo left: Students from the 2015 Pelagic Ecosystem Function Research Apprenticeship deploying a plankton net out on Salmon Bank. Photo right: Eric Boget of UW’s Applied Physics Lab and Tim Dwyer of Spring Street International School preparing to submerge the ROV for a deep-water search.

In addition to repairs, maintenance, and the new Marine Operations Manager, the R/V Centennial has taken aboard new crew in the last year. Craig Melvin, the skipper, has been on boats for over fifty years and came to us from the whale watching fleet in Friday Harbor. Scotty Lindgren, the chief engineer, has been aboard Centennial from its inception as a fishing vessel in the 90s.

As the boat continues to accept research work from UW and other education and government institutions, our need for highly trained and experienced crew is expanding. We are in the process of seeking out professional mariners to complete the R/V Centennial team. These individuals will be in addition to our fantastic volunteer crew of whom we are so grateful and appreciative for their hard work and dedication. We have necessary maintenance and upgrades for the spring of 2016 that will take place as funds permit.

If you would like to contribute to our efforts, we would be most grateful. You can donate to FHL's R/V Centennial Operation Support Fund online. You can also contact Rachel Anderson, Assistant Director for Advancement at FHL, (206) 616-0760 or rachelea@uw.edu. Thank you!

Students taking water samples out of the rosette of niskin bottles that accompany the CTD.

The maintenance on a boat is never “finished,” however the crew of Centennial are proud of our accomplishments thus far and invite you to utilize the vessel for your educational, research and outreach missions. We thank you all for your continued support, and look forward to working with you in the future. Please come and tour the boat at FHL's annual Open House on May 14, 2016!

Kindest Regards,

Billie J. Swalla & Meegan Corcoran (meeganc@uw.edu)

What a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! 


We were honored to see that Centennial was included in the subject matter of the Fall quarter students' gingerbread contest. Beware of the sharks!

 Tide Bites archives are posted on the FHL website.

Last modified onFriday, 11 October 2019 15:27

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