A new 60-foot research vessel has been delivered to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).
The rugged and utilitarian catamaran, Sentinel, was designed by Incat Crowther and built at Vigor’s specialized aluminum fabrication facility in Seattle.
A replacement for the DWR’s 40-year-old vessel San Carlos, Sentinel will be used primarily to monitor water quality, phytoplankton, zooplankton and benthic macro-invertebrates within the San Francisco bay area and close proximity coastline, specifically the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and upper San Francisco Estuary.
The Sentinel will serve as a floating laboratory whose mission is to protect water quality, according to the DWR. The flagship of DWR’s Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) enables staff to conduct water quality, nutrient and lower trophic monitoring, and plays a critical role in helping to meet water quality objectives and the mandated requirements of biological opinions issued by the courts to guide water quality issues in the Delta.
In keeping all accommodation on the main deck, Sentinel features a relatively wide beam which is utilized to create an efficient layout conducive to research and water sampling activity.
Sentinel has a large partially-covered aft deck with two deck cranes and two deck winches in addition to stair access to swim platforms port and starboard. The main deck cabin houses a large laboratory, forward of which are two twin cabins, a bathroom and galley. Forward of this is the wheelhouse with an additional fold-down berth.
A set of stairs leads from the foredeck to the roof deck, featuring aft control station as well as a rescue boat and dedicated launch and retrieval crane.
The vessel has a service speed of 18 knots with two Cummins QSB 6.7 main engines producing 260kW each.
The Sentinel was named by DWR Director Mark W. Cowin, who is retiring at month’s end after a 36-year career at the Department. Cowin named the vessel to honor the late Laura King Moon, DWR’s former Chief Deputy Director who passed away in 2015. “Laura King Moon worked tirelessly as a guardian of California’s water supply and its environment,” Cowin said. “This new research vessel is dedicated in her memory.” Moon was an environmental champion who dedicated her 38-year career to resource and water policy.
The Sentinel’s commissioning took place aboard the historic Delta King on the Sacramento River in the Old Sacramento Historic District. During the ceremony, Cowin drew a comparison between the era of the Delta King’s commissioning in the 1920s and the current era. “We are experiencing a period of great change – climate change, political change and changes in water management,” he said. “I think we can agree that the Sentinel is a welcome change.”
The Sentinel replaces the San Carlos, which provided valuable service for the past 40 years gathering information that informed water quality analysis, biological opinions and State Water Project (SWP) decisions. Cowin said it was time for a “new guardian of the Delta waters to greet new challenges.” Design and construction of the Sentinel was accomplished with funding from the SWP’s 29 contractors. The construction project began in February 2015, and the vessel was launched in October 2016, with sea trials occurring since the launch.
Length Overall: 18.3m
Length Waterline: 17.1m
Beam Overall: 7.3m
Draft (hull): 0.9m
Draft (prop or max): 1.1m
Construction: Marine grade aluminum
Fuel Oil: 1,700 liters
Fresh Water: 470 liters
Sullage: 190 liters
Propulsion and Performance
Speed (Service): 18 knots
Speed (Max): 21 knots
Main Engines: 2 x Cummins QSB6.7
Power: 2 x 350hp / 260kW @ 2,800rpm
Propulsion: 2 x Propellers
Generators: 2 x Northern Lights M864W3
Flag: United States of America
Class /Survey: USCG Subchapter T