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We put the deep ocean within reach.

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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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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OPB: Battling crabs 250 miles off the Oregon Coast, while studying an underwater volcano

July 2, 2022

  “OPB science reporter Jes Burns shares a strange tale of “crabotage” that emerged as scientists aboard the research vessel Thompson tried to answer complicated questions about the Axial Seamount.” Read the whole story. 

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Permission to dive!

June 30, 2022

On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, human occupied vehicle Alvin submerged for the first time since returning to port for repairs in the fall.  This was a tethered wet test, an opportunity to make sure the sub is ready for diving at sea. “We go through all the systems and make sure they are working,” said…

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Welcome aboard, Alvin!

June 22, 2022

Human Occupied Vehicle Alvin is getting ready to set sail on R/V Atlantis in July to resume work to certify the sub’s new maximum dive rating of 6,500 meters (4 miles). Watch the livestream of the vehicle loading here. We’ll keep you updated as the trip unfolds with regular blog posts and pictures.

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Exploring the Escanaba Trough with Jason and Sentry

June 14, 2022

The Escanaba Trough is about 200 miles off the coast of northern California, according to NOAA’s expedition site. A team of scientists explored the area “in order to characterize the hydrothermal sulfide system within the trough” and to “learn more about the hydrothermal minerals, fluids, and organisms that live near active and inactive hydrothermal settings…

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ASLO Ocean Sciences plenary video featuring Peter Girguis

March 3, 2022

Hear from Harvard University Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology—and frequent NDSF Vehicle User—on what draws him to study the creatures of the deep sea. See if you can spot all three vehicles—Alvin,Jason, and Sentry. Watch here.

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Underway: Alvin syntactic foam repair

February 14, 2022

When Human Occupied Vehicle Alvin’s sea trials came to an unexpected halt last November, engineers on Atlantis and at WHOI wasted no time in setting stage for the sub’s eventual return to the operation.

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