Last week NOAA commissioned fisheries survey vessel Reuben Lasker during a ceremony at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego. The 208' ship will conduct fish, marine mammal and turtle surveys off the U.S. West Coast and in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Reuben Lasker is the fifth in a series of ultra-quiet, high-tech fisheries survey vessels designed to meet the NOAA Fisheries Service’s specific data collection requirements. The ship was built in Wisconsin by Marinette Marine Corporation, a Fincantieri company.

NOAA ship Reuben Lasker is homeported at the NOAA Port Facility at the Port of San Diego’s 10th Avenue Terminal. The ship has a maximum speed of 14 knots, a range of 12,000 NM, and can remain at sea for 40 days. The ship’s complement includes five NOAA Corps officers, four civilian licensed engineers and 15 civilian wage mariners. Reuben Lasker can accommodate up to 15 scientists. The ship is commanded by NOAA Corps Cmdr. Keith W. Roberts.

“NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker is a vital component of our ocean research and survey infrastructure,” said NOAA Corps Vice Adm. Michael S. Devany, NOAA deputy under secretary for operations, who participated in today’s commissioning ceremony. “Reuben Lasker and the other ships of the NOAA fleet play a critical role in gathering environmental intelligence essential to the nation's economic security, the safety of its citizens, and the understanding, protection, and management of our natural resources.”

The ship is equipped with a full suite of modern instrumentation for fisheries and oceanographic research, including advanced navigation systems, acoustic sensors, scientific sampling gear and extensive laboratories. 

The new vessel is named after the late Dr. Reuben Lasker, a pioneering fisheries biologist who served as the director of the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s coastal fisheries division and as adjunct professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego.