This list includes all seagoing research ships owned/operated by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Ships not yet commissioned, or in long-term overhaul/conversion, are listed in italics. All classifications are purely unofficial and are based on an attempt to use standard classifications throughout all navies; they may or may not correspond to "official" designations. Where two dates are given (i.e. 1965/82), the first is the date of initial completion, and the second is the date of acquisition, conversion, or transfer. Designations given in (parentheses) are assigned but not displayed on the ship's hull.
All ships on this list carry the "R/V" prefix with their names.
Notes: A large research icebreaker built specifically for National Science Foundation operations in Antarctic areas. Icebreaking hull; can break 3 foot ice at 3 knots, 6 foot ice maximum. Designed to remain at sea 265 days/year in temperatures as low as -50 degrees F. Has a small helicopter deck and hangar. Contract-operated by Raytheon Polar Services Corporation.
|--||Nathaniel B. Palmer||1992||Southern Oceans||NSF|
Notes: A new polar research/supply ship completed in 1997, to replace Polar Duke, which has gone off-charter. Contract-operated by Raytheon Polar Services Corporation.
Builders: North American Shipbuilding, Larose, LA.
|--||Laurence M. Gould||1997||Southern Oceans||NSF|
Notes: Oceanographic research ship assigned to Oregon State University for operation; underwent mid-life overhaul in 1994.
Notes: A pair of oceanographic research ships built for NSF and assigned to academic institutions for operation. Oceanus is assigned to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute; Endeavour assigned to the University of Rhode Island. Endeavour underwent a mid-life overhaul in 1993, Oceanus in 1994; the ships differ somewhat following overhaul.
|--||Oceanus||1975||ATL||Woods Hole, MA||WHOI|
Notes: Oceanographic research ship assigned to Duke University for operation.
Builders: Atlantic Marine.
|--||Cape Hatteras||1981||ATL||Beaufort, NC||DukeU|
Notes: Oceanographic research ship assigned to CalState's Moss Landing Marine Laboratory for operation.
Builders: Atlantic Marine.
|--||Point Sur||1980||PAC||Moss Landing, CA||CSU/MLML|
Notes: Oceanographic research ship assigned to the University of Alaska for operation.
|--||Alpha Helix||1966||PAC||Seward, AK||UofAK|
Notes: A former US Coast Guard harbor tug (USCGC Bitt, WYTL 65613) decommissioned in 1982 and transferred to NSF. Assigned to the University of Washington for operation.
Builders: Western Boat, Tacoma, WA.
|--||Clifford A. Barnes||1965/82||PAC||Seattle, WA||UofW|