The Florida Institute of Oceanography is welcoming a new addition, one that it hopes will help train and develop Florida's next generation of marine scientists.

  • New research vessel "Hogarth" will replace older ship
  • Vessel contains both wet and dry labs, can map ocean floor
  • Costs shared by State of Florida, City of St. Petersburg

FIO's is getting a new floating lab named "Hogarth." The $6 million vessel is named after the Institute's former director, Bill Hogarth.

"It's quite an honor," Hogarth said. "And most of the time you don't have ships named after you until you've passed away."

The 78-foot, 139-ton vessel, which features both wet and dry labs, was constructed in the Bay area, at Duckworth Steel Boats in Tarpon Springs. The state-of-the-art vessel will replace a research vessel that's more than 40 years old.

Hogarth can map the ocean floor, and is equipped with fisheries eco-sounders and a dynamic positioning system.

Bill Hogarth, former director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography, and the inspiration behind the new vessel's name. (Josh Rojas, staff)

"Very stable, very fast, very quiet and it's going to represent just a tremendous improvement in terms of what students will normally experience getting out to see and that's critical," said FIO's Dr. Philip Kramer. "The first time a student goes out to sea you want it to be a positive experience."

The ship can sleep 10 scientists along with a crew of four, and will be a good investment for Florida, according to the man with whom the ship shares its name.

"I think a lot of people saw the need for it," Hogarth said. "You're surrounded by water, you got red tide, you've got hurricanes and environmental disasters and blah, blah, blah. I think people realized that you need it."

The state paid for nearly half of the new vessel. The remainder came from the City of St. Petersburg, the Institute, the University of South Florida, and other university members.

The ship will conduct sea trials over the next few months before assuming its role as Florida's floating laboratory, hopefully training marine scientists for decades to come.