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Alvin refit to 6500 meters

Learn about the overhaul that will take human occupied vehicle Alvin to greater extremes

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

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Video: Live from hydrothermal vents in the Guaymas Basin

November 29, 2021

Watch video from a ROV Jason and AUV Sentry cruise on the R/V Roger Ravelle to the Guaymas Basin the Gulf of California. This cruise was lead by Chief Scientist for Deep Submergence Anna Michel.

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We interrupt this blog

November 16, 2021

I don’t usually do this; I don’t usually write for WHOI in the first person. Because what I have to say is not about me, it’s about the scientists and engineers, their work, and what they help us learn about the ocean. That’s what matters day-to-day and so that’s what I write about as objectively…

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HOV Alvin temporarily halts engineering test dives

November 15, 2021

After completing its 5,075th dive to a record 5338 meters (17,513 feet), post-dive visual inspection of Alvin revealed unexpected damage to several attachment points of the specialized syntactic foam used to provide buoyancy to the 43,000-pound human-occupied research submersible. As a result, further test dives have been postponed so that the sub can be thoroughly…

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Diving to Mona Canyon

November 14, 2021

The process of certifying Alvin to dive to 6500 meters doesn’t mean the sub simply dives to its new maximum depth and that’s it. We are required to move in a gradual and stepwise fashion from 500 meters to 6500, stopping at every 500-meter increment to do specific checks of the vehicle and log our…

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Back to Work

November 11, 2021

On Tuesday, we got word that we have a location to get back on the road to 6500 meters: the east wall of Mona Canyon northwest of Puerto Rico. And after nearly three days in transit, we expect to arrive in the early morning hours of Thursday to do some seafloor surveys with the ship’s…

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November 8, 2021

After a successful five to 1,500 meters, Alvin begins a transit south to continue test dives closer to Puerto Rico.

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