All American Marine Inc. (AAM), Bellingham, Wash., has completed construction and launched a 77'x26'6" aluminum research and survey vessel for Duke University.

The R/V Shearwater, which will be operated by the Duke University Marine Lab (DUML), is a hydrofoil-assisted catamaran and is a design from Teknicraft Design. (AAM is the exclusive builder of Teknicraft hulls in North America.)

The new vessel was based upon two successful Teknicraft vessels AAM built for NOAA. Teknicraft’s patented hydrofoil-assisted hull design is proven to have industry-leading low-wake wash energy and fuel economy.

Main propulsion comes from twin, Tier 3 Caterpillar C18 “D” Acert engines, rated at 803 hp at 2,100 rpm. The vessel has a cruising speed of 24 knots.

The boat has liveaboard accommodations for 14 persons. Driven by twin fixed pitch propellers, the vessel can accommodate up to 30 passengers and is constructed and certified under USCG Subchapter T regulations.

R/V Shearwater will allow marine scientists from DUML and other institutions to conduct research along the Atlantic seaboard in a wide range of fields including marine ecology and conservation, biological oceanography, and renewable energy ocean development.

The R/V Shearwater is a year-round teaching and research campus located on Pivers Island in Beaufort, N.C. It offers academic programs at the doctoral, masters and undergraduate levels, and is home to the Nicholas School of the Environment Marine Science and Conservation programs.

The vessel was procured as part of an $11 million gift for the construction and operation of a new state-of-the-art research vessel that will expand teaching, research and outreach capabilities at the Marine Lab, which has been without a large research vessel since two of its boats were retired. The 135' Cape Hatteras retired in 2012 and the 50' Susan Hudson was retired in 2014.

“All American Marine is proud to have been selected by Duke University to build this state-of-the-art education platform,” All American’s business development manager, Ron Wille, said in a statement announcing the delivery. “The vessel is not only equipped with Teknicraft’s patented hydrofoil design, which provides both lift and fuel efficiency, it also has wet and dry labs, oceanographic equipment, a galley and sleeping quarters. It will be an ideal oceangoing classroom to train undergraduate and graduate students in oceanography and marine biology at the Duke Marine Lab at Beaufort, N.C.”

In addition to the university’s programs, the vessel will also be used to support science outreach programs for local K-12 teachers, students, and community members. Researchers and instructors from other institutions will also be able to charter the vessel for scientific or educational purposes.