The R/V Perkins Goes to Dry Dock

At the beginning of September, the Program’s research vessel, R/V Perkins, journeyed to Manns Harbor, near North Carolina’s Outer Banks, for dry docking at the North Carolina Department of Transportation State Ferry Shipyard. With Brad Rodgers at the wheel, the trip from Washington, NC took about twelve hours and included crew members Alena Derby, Keith Meverden, Marc Porter, and Tim Runyan. The vessel departed at sunrise, motoring down Pamlico Sound on a gorgeous late summer day with calm seas.

The R/V Perkins will remain in dry dock for 4 weeks for a hull inspection and minor repairs. The hull will be cleaned and painted, broken windows fixed and gaskets on hatches replaced. New silencers, or mufflers, on the main engine and generators will significantly quite the boat. Planned modifications include a dive ladder on the existing swim platform, a door in the transom, and an A-frame on the stern to assist in the deployment of remote sensing equipment and sampling nets.

Kevin Nichols chips the bilges in the engine room.

In 1998 the Maritime Studies Program acquired the Hydra from the Federal Government and renamed her R/V Perkins, after the Perkins Trust, a local Greenville trust, which has continually supported the Maritime Program in the vessels acquisition and operation. In May 1999 a crew of Maritimers brought the Perkins from Bay City, Michigan to her new home in Washington, North Carolina; a 1,400-mile, 10-day trip. When not doing research she can be seen tied up on the city waterfront.

Update: The Perkins ceased to be a Program in Maritime Studies asset as of 2005.

Students and faculty help maintain the Perkins. This group of volunteers included Jeff DiPrizito, Alena Derby, Kevin Nichols, Tim Runyan, and Keith Meverden.

Frank Cantelas and Keith Meverden survey the work being done at Manns Harbor.

In late September a volunteer work party of students and faculty spent a weekend on the boat chipping and cleaning the bilge in preparation for painting. Outfitted by the shipyard with tools and safety equipment, everyone spent the weekend becoming acquainted with the bowels of the Perkins.

Built by Higgins in Louisiana in 1953, the R/V Perkins began her career as the 65-foot U.S. Army T-501 for use as a harbor utility vessel. Through the 1970s and 80s the Environmental Protection Agency operated her as the R/V Hydra for water quality testing in the Great Lakes. In the 1970s, Hydra became an important research platform for the EPA on Lake Erie when pollution threatened the Lake’s survival. She became popularly known as the “ship the saved Lake Erie.” During a major refit in 1992 the EPA added a laboratory, galley, and crews quarters for eight.

Perkins arrives in Washington, North Carolina in May 1999.