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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 4500 meters depth and of supporting custom sensors and samplers. The Alvin Team delivers reliability built from nearly 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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The Conversation: explore deep-sea volcanoes with an aquanaut

December 2, 2019

Geologist Michael Perfit has taken about 40 dives in HOV Alvin. Read his account of a day at work underwater published in The Conversation.

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Gizmodo: Alvin, deep sea vents, and the mystery of ancient carbon

November 20, 2019

Read Gizmodo’s reporting on a paper published this month in Nature Communications that used samples collected on a 2017 Alvin mission to the East Pacific Rise 9° 50′ N vent field in the Pacific Ocean. “What’s great about Alvin is that you can be down there with the vent, get direct samples, and see everything in…

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A career in submersible operations

October 31, 2019

Get to know Rick Chandler, submersible engineering and operations administrator for the Alvin Group.

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Lightning Deployment

October 29, 2019

The Sentry Team and deck crew on the research vessel Atlantis had to move quickly in order to launch the autonomous underwater vehicle between squalls off the West Coast recently. Sentry was participating in the University of Washington-led Pythias Oasis expedition funded by the National Science Foundation to map a seafloor fluid “seep” named after the Greek oracle at the Temple of Apollo in Delphi built…

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Sentry maps the seafloor at the Marion Rise

October 1, 2019

Check out the cruise site for Sentry’s deployment in the Indian Ocean this past spring. Sentry mapped ~10,000 square kilometers of mantle exposed at the seafloor in this previously unexplored region. Read the daily cruise blog and more about Sentry and the Sentry team.

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Ocean News & Technology: Deep-sea exploration and photography develop together

September 13, 2019

“Subsea imaging has been intimately tied to our understanding of the world’s oceans since its beginnings.” An article in Ocean News & Technology traces the history and present-day advances in deep-sea imaging

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