The R/V David Packard: A Cutting-Edge Research Vessel for MBARI

  • Client:
    Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
  • Key Collaborators:
    Freire Shipyard
    DNV Group
  • Project Type:
    Vessel Design & Modification
  • Service Categories:
    Naval Architecture
    Marine Engineering
    Owner Services & Onsite Support
  • Vessel Overview:
    Monohull research vessel with ROV operations
  • Challenge:
    Develop a new research vessel design with general ocean-going capabilities.


The R/V David Packard began in 2010 as a concept study for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). Glosten was tasked with developing a new research vessel design for dedicated remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and general-purpose ocean-going operations that would expand MBARI’s science capabilities and better support its research partners. MBARI’s marine operations and science teams were engaged throughout the design process to ensure all the features and functions they had envisioned for the new vessel were incorporated.

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In 2018, MBARI re-engaged Glosten to work with their marine operations team to help refine the original concept design and bring it to the contract level. The 164-foot-long (50-meter-long) David Packard was arranged to maximize areas dedicated to science without compromising its speed, range, or endurance, and will be able to accommodate 12 crew members and 18 scientists. A monohull with twin L-drive stern thrusters and a retractable azimuthing/tunnel bow thruster, it is capable of 12 knots cruising speed, will have a range of 4,300 nautical miles, and an endurance of 18 days. Key features include facilities catering to the vessel’s ROV function, 360-degree Pilothouse visibility, and the ability to manage maneuvering and on-station operations with minimal crewing.

Vessel construction is underway at Freire Shipyard, where Glosten is providing onsite construction support until project completion.