Go to the Shiptime Request System

  Rolling Deck to Repository (R2R)    

  Information Required by Academic Scientists Wishing to Use the UNOLS Research  Fleet

PURPOSE:   The purpose of this paper is to provide a summary of procedures for requesting ship time on a UNOLS research ship and to serve as a starting point for an expanded understanding of the UNOLS ship scheduling process.

THE UNOLS FLEET:   UNOLS is a consortium of 60 academic institutions involved in federally funded oceanographic research.  Fifteen of these institutions operate the 19 ships of the UNOLS Fleet. Details on the characteristics of each ship can be found via the UNOLS Research Vessels listing.   The Fleet is located throughout the United States and includes a ship in Bermuda.  Ships of the Fleet range in size from 20 meters to 85 meters and operate in coastal waters of the United States, the Great Lakes and the oceans of the world.  Ships of the Fleet are available to all federally funded investigators and can be requested by using the on-line Ship Time Request Forms at https://strs.unols.org/ .

THE SCHEDULING PROCESS:   The UNOLS Council has a Scheduling Committee that is tasked with scheduling the UNOLS Fleet. The Committee meets at least once each year and is in constant communication, coordinating ship time requests and ship schedules.

Although each federal agency operates differently with respect to investigators that require ship time, all investigators in need of UNOLS ship time should utilize the on-line Ship Time Request Form (see web address above).  For the most part, project planning begins with proposals or letters of intent to the respective funding agency outlining the science to be performed.  NSF requires that proposals must be submitted for panel review by 15 February of the year before the requested cruise.   The proposal (or letter of intent) should also reflect the ship time needed and should include a hard copy of the Ship Time Request Form.  A hard copy can be printed from the screen or can be the text email copy forwarded to the submitting PI.  This web-based form is replacing the NSF Form 831 for NSF investigators.

Requests for ship time should be completed as early as possible, usually well before funding has been received.  The online ship time request form can be completed in draft form for coordination with collaborating scientists.  To get the form into the system it must be submitted by clicking on the ìFinal Form Submissionî button. It is then electronically transmitted and automatically addressed to the ship operators that can best perform the work.  A copy is also sent to the submitting PI, funding agency indicated and to the UNOLS Office. 

Once submitted, the ship time request is used by the Scheduling Committee to develop cost effective schedules.  Investigators can view the ship schedules on-line.  Final schedules do not firm up until late in the year before the cruise has been funded.  If the assigned timeframe of your cruise is not satisfactory it is appropriate to directly contact the scheduler listed on the shipís schedule.  If the ship assigned is not acceptable then communication should be made directly with the Ship Scheduling Chair or the UNOLS Office.  Both addresses can be found on the UNOLS homepage.

For more details on UNOLS, the ship schedules and the scheduling process follow the links listed above or start with the UNOLS home page at: http://www.unols.org.  All investigators should read the Research Vessel Safety Standards and Chapter 1 of the Safety Training Manual.  Both documents can be found on the UNOLS web site.  If work is scheduled in waters of a foreign state information on Department of State clearance requirements can be found on the ship time request form referenced above.  For further information it is recommended that you contact the UNOLS office directly via e-mail office@unols.org or phone (401) 874-6825.
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Page updated: July 31, 2013