News and Events

Marine Institute Celebrates Vessel Upgrade 

Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014 1:30 am

Long Beach Marine Institute recently celebrated a major upgrade of its 115-foot-long research vessel, The Challenger, to make the ship more eco-friendly and cost efficient. The Challenger’s upgrades — completed just in time for a summer season on the water — were paid for by a $900,000 grant from Air Quality Management’s Carl Moyer Program. After five months under construction, the ship has three new main engines and two new generators that will reduce fuel use by 20% and cut back on emissions by 50% or more. Long Beach Marine Institute managing director Karen Shackelford said it was time for the nonprofit’s ship to go green since the organization is focused on environmental stewardship and teaching local residents about marine science. Captain Daryl May said the Marine Institute’s boat acts as a floating science lab. “The Challenger was built in the 1990s, and we use it to take 10,000 students a year on the water for summer day camps or for school field trips …” May explained. “The boat is set up for oceanography. We take samples of the sediment and bring it on board the ship and sift through it. We have a net that sweeps the bottom for samples of fish and creatures in the mud. The kids look at them and touch them.” Besides educating the public, Marine Institute volunteers also collect data for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Department of Public Health to help monitor water quality and the health of various marine species. The Marine Institute has been operating in Long Beach for more than 35 years. For more details, call the phone number 431-7156 or visit the websirte www.longbeachmarine.org or go to the Marine Institute office at 5875 Appian Way. Summer camp sessions kick off on June 17. Ashleigh Ruhl can be reached at aruhl@gazettes.com.