Academic Research Vessels

The purpose of the Shannon Point Marine Center (SPMC) boating policies (outlined in the SPMC Boating Safety Manual) is to ensure the safety of the operator(s) and scientific personnel through boating operations that are conducted in a safe and responsible manner. SPMC vessels are designated by the United States Coast Guard as Oceanographic Research Vessels (ORV). The policies below ensure that boating operations are consistent with that designation.

Persons on Board

The ORV designation 1) restricts persons aboard to scientists or scientists-in-training and 2) requires that the vessels be used only for oceanographic study. The use of the vessels for oceanographic research and teaching encompasses WWU students and researchers. That group may be expanded to include others who are in some way connected to WWU and participating in oceanographic activities (e.g., scientific dive team members, research associates, members of the media documenting research). Individuals in these latter categories must complete a hold-harmless form developed through the WWU Risk Management Office and can be approved by the SPMC Boating Safety Officer. Anyone outside these designated groups can travel on an SPMC vessel only with approval from the SPMC Boating Safety Committee.

Reserving a Vessel

Reservations are made on a first-come, first-served basis and are made for specific dates and times. Contact the Boating Safety Officer (BSO) at (360) 650-7400 or email Gene McKeen to reserve vessels.

Float Plans

All reservations require an associated float plan detailing the purpose of the trip, when the trip will take place, who will participate, where the vessel will operate, and how any work will be done. The float plan must be submitted to the BSO at least two days prior to the trip. Float plans for trips to be completed outside normal work hours must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the trip. A student may submit a float plan, but the plan must have prior signed approval by a faculty or staff member.

Check-Out Procedures

A boat will be checked out on the day of the cruise only after a completed float plan has been approved by the BSO.

Check-In Procedure and Closing of Float Plan

A boat is considered to be checked-in when it has been returned to the marina and the keys and all related equipment have been returned and the BSO and boat operator have signed the plan.

Authorization of Boat Operators

Individuals may become authorized boat operators through the following process:

  1. Review the Boating Safety Manual
  2. Submit a Vessel Operator Application (contact Gene McKeen)
  3. Obtain a Washington State Boater Education Card
  4. Demonstrate ability to safely operate a boat as determined by the BSO