Welcome Aboard E/V Nautilus
Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus is owned and operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established to explore the world’s oceans to seek out new discoveries in the fields of geology, biology, maritime history, archaeology, and chemistry.
OET was founded in 2008 by Dr. Robert Ballard to engage in pure ocean exploration. Inspired by Ballard’s discovery of the wreck of the Titanic and the first discovery of hydrothermal vents, it is our organization-wide mission to develop and utilize technologies that enable us to push the boundaries of ocean exploration and to share these discoveries with global audiences through around-the-clock telepresence and immersive resources for students and educators.
The ship is operated by 17 permanent crew members in addition to 33 berths for members of the rotating Corps of Exploration, including scientists, engineers, educators, and artists from around the world who serve as role models for the next generation of explorers interested in STEM career pathways.
E/V Nautilus is homeported at AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, California. Since 2008, Nautilus has explored waters across the world, moving from the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea into the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and crossing through the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean in 2015. Her current focus is on exploration throughout the Pacific Ocean. OET’s mobile exploration systems — assets that are deployed from other vessels and from shore — are available for deployment throughout North American waters, including the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico.
Nautilus was built in 1967 in East Germany as a fisheries research vessel under the original name Georgius Agricola, before becoming Alexander Von Humboldt, and eventually being procured and retrofitted into a deep-sea exploration vessel in 2008 by OET.
Learn More: Mission and Goals
Novel Oceanic Research
Seagoing operations are dedicated to conducting all scientific research to the highest international academic standards as we push the boundaries of ocean engineering, technology, education, and communication.
Exploratory missions of our 68-meter (224 foot) exploration vessel include the testing of innovative scientific instruments and systems, mapping technologies, site characterization procedures, at-sea data analysis, and understanding and exploring our world’s oceans – all shared live to spread the excitement of ocean exploration and turn everyday viewers into explorers.
Expeditions are planned in conjunction with federal agencies, marine sanctuaries, media organizations, and research institutes whose missions align with our own, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, NOAA Office of Coast Survey, National Geographic Society, and other organizations. As of 2019, Ocean Exploration Trust joined a newly-formed NOAA Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute alongside the University of Rhode Island, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, University of New Hampshire, and University of Southern Mississippi, to drive a new generation of exploration technology, innovation, and outreach capabilities.
Learn More: Our Partners & Sponsors
Technology to Explore the Ocean’s Deepest Depths
Nautilus has traveled the planet in search of the ocean’s unknown regions, including the rediscovery of the wreck of the USS Independence, surveying underwater volcanoes and bubbling methane seeps, and introducing some of the world’s most loved cephalopods, like the googly-eyed stubby squid and the brooding octopus garden located in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
The ship is equipped with a two-tiered approach to ocean exploration. First, the team uses a multibeam sonar system mounted on the hull of the ship to acquire data that our team uses to produce maps of the seafloor. Once the data is analyzed and areas of interest are identified, we deploy ROVs to collect video footage and a variety of biological, geological, chemical, and archaeological samples.
Innovation and progress are at the forefront of our expedition through our use of robotic vehicles, data collection, state-of-the-art sensors and samplers, deployable mobile systems, robotic vehicles, telepresence, and live streaming capabilities, as well as insight from scientists located around the world. Aboard the vessel, our data and wet labs are used for processing digital data and physical samples.