OR - Elakha: The Repowering of OSU's Valued Research Vessel
Ocean science is in high demand by scientists studying ocean acidification, wave energy, seabed composition, changing water temperatures, fish populations and dozens of other research projects. The Oregon State University (OSU) has a proud history in the field. The wide variety of research project require a variety of vessels.
One boat that has made large contributions to research is the 54 by 16.5-foot Elakha which was built in 2001 at Rozema Boat Works of Mount Vernon Washington. Showing design influences of a typical forward house west coast style fishing boat, the Elakha’s after deck is set up for retrieving data from the ocean, although some fish research is also possible. The university works with a variety of organization to pursue research.
The boat has enabled marine studies. Work has ranged widely including benthic ecology, oceanography, marine mammal studies, ornithology, climatology, fluid dynamics, marine ecology, and estuary ecology. Some of the most common types of work for the Elakha include dive operations, acoustic studies, glider deployment and recovery, box coring, profiler deployment and recovery, plankton and other tows, crab pot deployment and recovery and CTD casts.
As the boat approached its twentieth year of operation, the team at OSU had to consider the best mid-life upgrade. The existing 600 hp CAT 3176 had given good service and they considered a rebuild. Writing about the selection process, the Elakha’s master, Captain Jeff Lawrence, describes the process very well:
“…As part of this evaluation we contacted Scott Graff at Curry Marine. In just a few short days Scott came up with a great package for our project that checked every box on our needs list. We decided to go with a new tier 3 Cummins QSM 11 610hp engine A ZF360A 2.44:1 marine gear and Glendinning ECS controls."