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We put the deep ocean within reach.

 Our Vehicles. Your Tools.

NDSF operates a fleet of underwater vehicles that enables the oceanographic community to explore, sample, and map the deep ocean and to meet the needs of a changing research landscape.


A 3-person research submersible capable of reaching 6500 meters depth and of supporting custom sensors and samplers. The Alvin Team delivers reliability built from more than 5,000 successful dives.


A time-tested remotely operated vehicle system capable of multi-day missions to 6500 meters. Observers get real-time, HD video and data, as well as physical samples from the seafloor.


A flexible, fully autonomous vehicle rated to 6000 meters that carries a wide and growing array of instruments. The Sentry Team is also skilled at carrying out multi-vehicle missions.

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Plan an expedition

From proposal preparation to cruise logistics to data access, we help you execute a successful research mission.

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Use cases

Learn how NDSF vehicles can increase data collection and take better advantage of your time at sea.

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First time user?

Learn how our assets can extend your research to depths you may have never thought possible.

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Scientists using HOV Alvin aboard R/V Atlantis discover pristine deep-sea coral reefs in the Galápagos Marine Reserve

April 21, 2023

Scientists have discovered extensive, ancient deep-sea coral reefs within the Galápagos Marine Reserve (GMR)—the first of their kind ever to be documented inside the marine protected area (MPA) since it was established in 1998. The reef, found at 400-600 meters (1,310-1,970 feet) depth at the summit of a previously unmapped seamount in the central part of the archipelago, supports a breathtaking mix of deep marine life.

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Oregon Public Broadcasting: Deep-sea volcano off the Oregon Coast helps scientists forecast eruptions

March 16, 2023

Oregon Public Broadcasting Reporter Jes Burns on takes a deep dive into monitoring volcanic activity at Axial Seamount—using ROV Jason—and developing future volcanic predictions. Read the whole story here and don’t miss the video version (or its original sea chanty).

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Two new Alvin pilots

January 30, 2023

Rick Sanger (#44) and Nick O’Sadcia (#45) are the newest Alvin pilots, making them qualified to pilot the sub on science expeditions in the deep sea. Rick Sanger is one of Alvin’s newest Navy-certified pilots. Photo by the Alvin Team, © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Rick Sanger is a research engineer at WHOI and has…

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NDSF user spotlight: Roxanne Beinart on microbes and deep sea science

January 27, 2023

Roxanne Beinart, photo by Alex Deciccio. What do you study? I’m a marine microbiologist. I study microbes that are in symbiotic relationships with other organisms-especially those that live at deep-sea hydrothermal vents and cold seeps. There’s not a lot of food available in the deep sea, but at hydrothermal vents and cold seeps there are…

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Increased bandwidth on UNOLS fleet

January 25, 2023

Aerial view of R/V Atlantis and R/V Neil Armstrong at sea together. Photo by Kent Sheasley © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Both R/V Neil Armstrong and R/V Atlantis will have expanded bandwidth at sea for the rest of 2023. The faster upload and download speeds are part of a fleetwide trial, funded by the Office…

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Diving into ocean data: Meet the NDSF data team

January 15, 2023

The National Deep Submergence Facility—home to Alvin, Jason, and Sentry—is more than just an innovator and operator of underwater vehicles. It also manages data collected by those vehicles. And that adds up to a lot of data.

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