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Dive with Alvin.

Human presence, direct observation, precision sampling.

HOV Alvin

An Alvin-based research expedition delivers a firsthand experience unlike any other in science: it allows in-situ data collection and observation by two scientists of the seafloor and water column to depths reaching 4,500 meters on dives lasting up to ten hours, with the support of an experienced, multi-talented technical team. The Alvin Group and their equipment meet the highest safety and reliability standards as a result of decades of operational and engineering expertise. Continual innovation and the application of the latest technological advancements puts Alvin at the forefront of expeditionary research.

With seven reversible thrusters, Alvin can hover in the water, maneuver over rugged topography, or rest on the sea floor. With an experienced pilot at the controls, it can collect data throughout the water column, produce a variety of maps and perform photographic surveys. Alvin also has two robotic arms that can manipulate instruments and obtain samples ranging from hard-rock geology to delicate biology, and its basket can be reconfigured daily based on the needs of each dive.

Currently rated to 4,500 meters, Alvin gives researchers in-person access to about two-thirds of the ocean floor, the most recent upgrade increased the depth rating of many of the vehicle’s systems, putting it just steps away from having a depth rating of 6,500 meters, or approximately 98 percent of the seafloor. Alvin is a proven and reliable platform capable of diving for up to 30 days in a row before requiring a scheduled maintenance day. Recent collaborations with autonomous vehicles such as Sentry have proven expansive, allowing research teams to visit promising sites to collect samples and data in-person within hours of their being discovered, and UNOLS-driven technological advances have improved the ability for scientific outreach and collaboration via telepresence.

Vehicle Tour

Dive Deeper: Alvin Takes You There

Watch this series of videos for a deeper understanding of what Alvin can do.

Alvin Takes You There

The deep-diving submersible Alvin takes scientists into the depths of the ocean to give them a first-person, up-close look at the things that happen there and the things that live there.

Alvin Makes it Real

For many ocean scientists, a trip into the deep sea in Alvin is the high point of a career studying the depths. Alvin brings this most remote part of Earth accessible, understandable, and real.

You Never Forget Your First Dive

The first dive in Alvin is a special time that surpasses almost all others. It is the moment when Alvin's special role as one of the world's premiere scientific instruments becomes clear.

The future of Alvin

Marine geophysicist Donna Blackman from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography looks ahead to the steps for Alvin taking even greater depths of discovery.

The gifts of Alvin

National Geographic Explorer Jeff Marlow from Harvard University uses Alvin to explore the deep in his quest for understanding methane vents.

Long Arm of Alvin

University of Utah microbial ecologist Katrina Twing is using Alvin to carry a new sampler/processor down to the seafloor to learn more about fluids and microbes.