NDSF First Time Users

We're here to assist your deep submergence missions.

We encourage a broader and growing user community to utilize the NSF deep-submergence assets to accomplish their research objectives. Such missions can also be outside the boundaries of traditional oceanographic research. Both HOV Alvin and Jason Jr., a predecessor of the current ROV Jason, conducted their renowned Titanic search in 1986. More recently, AUV Sentry and HOV Alvin OV (observation vehicle) contributed to the El Faro voice recorder rescue mission in collaboration with National Transportation Safety Board in 2016.

ROV Jason also routinely provides operation and maintenance support for sub-sea infrastructure including the Regional Cabled Array, a part of of NSF's Ocean Observatories Initiative. These applications of NDSF vehicles demonstrate how the continued development and operation of deep submergence vehicles for scientific objectives can contribute to operations of national significance.

Prior to submitting a proposal, first-time users of NDSF vehicles are encouraged to read suggested steps in the PLAN AN EXPEDITION page, and vehicle-specific cruise-planning and user guides.

Online Resources

In general we recommend that first-time users, after solidifying their science objectives, seek guidance from scientists and engineers (including the Chief Scientist of Deep Submergence at WHOI and NDSF Field Operations Coordinators) experienced in mounting an NDSF expedition. This will help (1) Obtain an overall introduction of NDSF; (2) Determine which vehicle or combination of vehicles is best to accomplish your science objectives; and (3) Brainstorm on dive planning, including which types of surveys and sampling strategies to employ. If there are any questions on the integration of sensors, specific vehicle capabilities, the feasibility of dive conditions, or potential support platforms, individual vehicle program managers are also available to to help you.

We also suggest new users take a look at outreach websites created by past science teams using NDSF vehicles during their cruises found on the Data page/Dive kml file. These outreach websites include a breadth of knowledge, not only on dive progress throughout cruises, but also on cruise participants’ insights on successes and challenges during vehicle operations.

In-person Opportunities

An annual NDSF New Users Program is held in conjunction with the AGU Fall Meeting. The program is hosted by UNOLS Deep Submergence Science Committee and, in addition to new users, is attended by vehicle managers, experienced users, and funding agency representatives. The full-day program offers an interactive orientation on NDSF vehicle use, understanding funding schemes, and knowledge-sharing on dive mission planning and execution. The program offers an opportunity to share your science interests with a group of future users as well as the deep submergence science committee at the annual Fall DeSSC meeting held the next day. Announcement of the meeting and opportunities for financial support to attend are made through the UNOLS listserve and on the UNOLS website.

Visits to WHOI for discussions with vehicle operations teams can be coordinated through the Chief Scientist for Deep Submergence.

Planning and executing a successful cruise using NDSF vehicles 

We have held a focused-training workshop for new users (e.g. HOV Alvin Bootcamp 2015). The primary goal of the workshop is to provide new NDSF users with an opportunity to learn about the operation of the sub in the context of their research objectives. We thrive to continue providing this opportunity for future users for all NDSF vehicles.