All  About  F. L. I. P.

These pictures show the unique capabilities of the 355-foot (108-meter) R/P FLIP (Floating Instrument Platform), which is operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. FLIP is ingeniously designed with hinged equipment that can be used with the vessel in either its horizontal or vertical position. To switch to the vertical position, FLIP is towed to a research site where ballast tanks are flooded with 1,500 tons of sea water to "flip" it (while scientists and crew literally "walk up the walls" to stay upright). With only 55 feet (17 meters) of the vessel above the surface and the remaining 300 feet (91 meters) extending into the stable water column, scientists can continue with their research with minimal surface motion disruption.  This unique positioning of FLIP allows scientists to make measurements that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to make from a conventional research vessel.  At the end of the experiment, which may last up to 35 days, compressed air is blown into the ballast tanks, and the vessel returns to its horizontal position.