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 NOTICE: UTMSI suffered damage in Hurricane Harvey. Our Port Aransas campus and the Bay Education Center in Rockport are currently closed. Thank you for your support and understanding. 

Important Information—Please read prior to your visit

Research and teaching are major functions of the Marine Science Institute of The University of Texas at Austin. Another important role of the laboratory is to serve as a resource for the faculty and students of The University of Texas and of other universities, colleges and secondary school groups.

The following facilities are available September through May (normally they are not available in June, July or August when formal classes are in session at MSI).

Pier Lab

A 1200 sq. ft. Pier Lab with running seawater, and small aquaria is available for groups. Special arrangements by request. Groups are advised to furnish their own lab equipment. Please reserve in advance.

Katy trip SjostromBoats

A 57-ft. research vessel, the R/V KATY, is available to visiting groups.

Other boats are available by special arrangement. Availability of boats is dependent on prior scheduling commitments. Because of overtime crew costs, preference will be given to regular weekday scheduling).

Minimum grade for field trips (lodging and R/V Katy) is 6th grade...no exceptions. Please do not bring younger children and siblings.

Please note: All release and indemnification forms must be completed prior to your arrival on campus.

Charges are as follows:

R/V Katy:

Pricing (for 1/2 day trip)

  • Low Season = Low Season $450.00 - August, November-March
  • High Season = High Season $650.00 - September-October, April-July


  • Dormitory—$20 per night for students and organized groups
  • Dormitory—$35 per night for all others

Lodging (check-in at 4:00 p.m., check-out at 12:00 noon)

Overnight, air-conditioned accommodations are available for 70 persons. Each person must furnish their own towels, blankets, sheets, and pillows. Separate sections of housing sleep 40, 16, and 14 persons. This allows flexibility in accommodating male and female students. Check-in with security between the hours of 4 pm - 10 pm. Check-out time is at 12:00 noon. On day of departure please return all keys to the Security office staff between 8 a.m. - 12:00 noon -otherwise drop the keys in the letter box on the security door. A $25 fee is enforced for all keys not returned when departing. UT system and other college groups will have first choice of weekend lodging space. Other groups will be scheduled on a space-available basis, with preference given to mid-week use of lodges. The use of the lodges is restricted to students and sponsors. Please do not bring younger children and siblings.

Group Size:


If your group numbers are over 25 (including sponsors), it will automatically be divided in half, with each group taking a two-hour cruise, rather than the usual four-hour one. The use of the boat is restricted to students and sponsors. Please do not bring younger children and siblings.

Collecting Equipment

Shipboard collecting gear includes trawls, dredges, bottom grabs, plankton nets and water sampling bottles. Groups should furnish their own microscopes, buckets, collecting bottles and preservatives. Items such as beach nets, seines, buckets, core equipment and expendables are not generally available and should be furnished by the visiting group. Other equipment may be available by special arrangement.


A single check for payment of fees or a purchase order number should be given by the person in charge when the group checks in. INDIVIDUAL PAYMENTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Checks should be made payable to "The University of Texas".


To make a reservation for the R/V Katy and/or lodging, submit the Visiting Group Request Form.  Reservations should be made well in advance. A reservation is only confirmed when you receive a written confirmation from the Marine Science Education staff.

Check-in location

UT Security Office is adjacent to the boat marina on Channel View Drive. Visitors arriving after hours and on weekends are requested to provide an estimated time of arrival to ensure that someone will meet them at the laboratory. Visitors are also requested to plan their schedules so that they arrive at the lab no later than 10:00 p.m. to be checked in. In the event your journey is delayed, we would ask you to extend the courtesy by calling the security guard and informing him of your new estimated time of arrival. Any other last minute changes in schedules should be reported to the Marine Education Office prior to your trip.

There will be no access to lodging before 4 PM or after 10 PM

Inclement weather

This could affect your trip aboard the R/V KATY. It is your responsibility to contact this office for the latest weather conditions prior to your visit.

Alcohol and Tobacco

The use of alcoholic beverages and tobacco is strictly prohibited anywhere on campus.


FYI: Maintenance staff can enter lodging at any time for an emergency and between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. for routine maintenance tasks.


Pets are prohibited on campus.

Emergency Telephone Numbers:

Marine Science Education (8 a.m. - 5 p.m. weekdays) 361-749-3153
Security Cell Phone (after 5 p.m. and weekends) 361-332-9641