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The workhorse of our bay operations is the R/V Katy, a 57-foot long trawler. Our research fleet is rounded out by several smaller boats, each with special capabilities for working in different habitats and performing different operations.


katyR/V KatyThe R/V KATY is 57 feet long, 16 feet 6 inches in beam, 6 feet draft, 40.8 gross tons, and 27 net tons. She is powered by a single 671 Detroit Diesel. Top speed is about 10 knots.

Below decks living quarters include bunk space for six. There is a complete galley with refrigerator and electric range. All the quarters are air conditioned. Fuel capacity is 3,000 gallons and fresh water capacity is 1,000 gallons. In addition to the normal controls on the bridge, there is a stern steering station.

A wet laboratory space is semi-enclosed off the work deck, A compartment immediately forward of the wet laboratory space can be used as a day room for personnel, or can be rigged as an instrument room for research projects. This vessel's primary utilization is as a stern trawler for class trips.

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Small Boat Fleet

With a fleet of boats and lab buildings in Port Aransas perched hundreds of feet from the Gulf of Mexico, the Marine Science Institute is an ideal research location, whether someone is towing instruments behind boats, using data collected from geographical information systems or standing knee-deep in marsh muck to study estuarine ecology.  

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A 25-foot workboat with enclosed cuddy cabin forward and large cockpit. Equipped with 200-HP outboard and trim tabs. Suitable for bay or near offshore (in calm weather) work. Capacity 11 people or 1,500 pounds.



A 26-foot “landing craft” with a 150-HP outboard engine. It can carry an 'All Terrain Vehicle' and gear or up to 14 people. Maximum carrying capacity: 2,600 lbs.



The Mowdy is a 25-foot catamaran with a 200-HP engine with a jack plate and ample deck space. This boat's purpose is to cross rough bays, but be able to go in the shallows. The hull drafts 10 inches and it is rated for 6 people. 


Dr. Cleo

A 22-foot Boston Whaler center console with a 200-HP Mercury Optimax outboard engine. It is fully equipped with electronics and has a T-top. Suitable for bay and offshore (in calm weather) work, it has a capacity of 9 people or 1,650 lbs.



An 18-foot custom “air-boat” powered by a high performance 454 cu. in. Chevy engine. It is used for ultra shallow research and delta/marsh work. Maximum capacity: 6 people or 1,110 lbs.



An 21-foot center console, flat-bottom, tunnel-hull skiff, 175-HP outboard with Jacuzzi jet drive for shallow water operations. Maximum capacity: 5 people or 925 lbs.



An 18-foot aluminum “John boat” powered by a 45-HP outboard. Its large deck is suitable for working various gill nets, etc. Maximum capacity: 8 people or 1,085 lbs.



A 17-foot center console Boston Whaler with a 110-HP outboard motor. Maximum capacity: 5 people or 925 lbs.


Big Whaler

A 16-foot center console Boston Whaler with a 70-HP outboard. Maximum capacity: 5 people or 925 lbs.


Little Whaler

A 13-foot Boston Whaler with console, powered by a small outboard engine. Maximum capacity: 4 people or 600 lbs.

CurtJohnson takes a trip to San Jose

curt johnson

A 28-foot Munson is a landing craft that is powered by two 200-HP outboards. It has a 8.5-foot beam, davit, bimni top, spud pole for sahllow water and 2 jack plates. It drafts about 14-16 inches of water. Capacity of 16 people or 3,000 lbs.