Field Operations

Rv shearwater in front of santa cruz island
R/V Shearwater at Santa Cruz Island Photo: Robert Schwemmer/NOAA

Research and monitoring are founded on competent data acquisition. Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary maintains a variety of monitoring tools to perform a diverse suite of sampling. This diversity in capacity allows us to address ongoing needs, as well as new and emerging issues that require scientific data to resolve.

a silver boat with a noaa logo on the water

Research Vessels

The sanctuary operates the 62 foot research vessel Shearwater to support research, resource protection, education, and maritime heritage within the sanctuary. The sanctuary is currently in the process of building a new 29’ research vessel. It will come online in early 2023.

a diver swims in a kelp forest

NOAA Divers

Diving operations support a better understanding of maritime heritage resources and marine resources including assessments of ecosystem and climate characteristics, marine protected area performance, recovery of marine species, and technology tools.

a person looks out of a plane window over channel islands national marine sanctuary

Aircraft Surveys

The sanctuary staff flies monthly surveys of the Santa Barbara Channel Traffic Separation Scheme to better understand large whale distribution and density within shipping lanes.

an unmanned aircraft sits on a table

Uncrewed Technologies

Sanctuary staff have experience and expertise with programming, operating, and maintaining various uncrewed technologies, including remotely operated vehicles (ROV), uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS), and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV).