Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Cruise Planning Questionnaire

Science Verification Cruise


R/V Atlantis


HOV Alvin

Cruise Party

Chris German: Chief Scientist
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Clark 241, MS#22 Woods Hole, Ma. USA 02543
+1 508 289 2853

Peter Girguis: Chief Scientist, Principal Investigator
16 Divinity Ave room 3085 Cambridge, MA United States 02138
+1 617 496 8328

Departure: Bermuda, St. Georges on May 7, 2013

Arrival: St. Petersburg FL. on May 27, 2013

Mobilization Date: May 4, 2013

Demobilization Date: May 29, 2013

Supporting documentation:

Operations Area: Cayman Rise and Fl. Escarpment


Depth Range: min / max (m)

Will the vessel be operating within 200 NM of a foreign country? Cayman Islands
Are visas or special travel documents required? no

Science objectives

Over the past four years, HOV Alvin has undergone a suite of enhancements including a new pressure hull with improved visibility and ergonomics, new digital imaging and data acquisition systems, a novel basket that accommodates greater payloads, and numerous improvements to the vehicle’s command and control systems. The new pressure sphere has been certified to 6500m. Future upgrades to the submarine’s batteries and other major subsystems will ultimately make this HOV capable of operations at 6500 m.


Completion of the sea trials, expected in March 2013, will result in Alvin being recertified for operations to 4500m.  However, there are aspects of vehicle operation and performance that are critical to science but not necessarily included in the certification process as defined by the US Navy’s NAVSEA protocols.  Consequently, a science verification cruise (SVC) will be conducted to assess the research capabilities of the vehicle.  The specific objectives of the cruise will include:  1) involvement of experienced users to ensure operational components and scientific sensors on the vehicle are working properly, 2) pursuit of various science projects and opportunistic exploration, and 3) education of early career scientists who plan to conduct deep submergence field science using HOV Alvin

Science Activities

The SVC will conduct operations in the following two regions: 1) on the Florida escarpment, committing ~5 dives to work around brine seeps and potentially other habitats in this area (pending the applicant pool as well as unforeseen issues, e.g., weather), and 2) at the Cayman Rise, committing ~5 dives to work around hydrothermal vents and potentially other habitats in this area (pending the applicant pool as well as unforeseen issues, e.g., weather).

Evaluating the Science Capabilities of the new HOV Alvin


Navigation and Data Collection

  • Assess navigational capabilities as necessary, including ease of adding science-supplied bathymetric underlays and waypoints, evaluating the results and assessing the accuracy and precision of the navigation and data logging systems.
  • Assess “routine” processing software designed to enable scientists and onboard technicians to verify the quality of navigation and other relevant data streams produced by contextual sensors on the submersible.
  • Determine if submersible data streams (e.g., time, altitude, depth, heading, navigation, and other science-oriented sensors) are readily accessible to the user in standard formats;
  • Determine if data storage and data access systems on board RV Atlantis are compatible with submersible data streams;
  • Establish the functionality of the frame grabber system; determine that this system operates -at a minimum- to enable rapid assessment of operational and scientific data post-dive; assess the ease of incorporating this metadata into the R2R data system being developed for all UNOLS vessels.


Power, Speed, and Duration Capability

  • Assess realized transit speed of Alvin near bottom and in the water column (The Alvin group will work with the scientists to appropriately tabulate power consumption during various operations, and compare these data to expected power consumption in order to provide the user community with reasonable expectations for dive duration and on-bottom times, and to develop better operating procedures for users). 


Seafloor Mapping

  • Undertake and evaluate near-bottom multibeam mapping in flat and rough terrains, including assessment of artifacts, protocols for data acquisition, and shipboard capabilities for post-dive data processing and production of gridded data acceptable for field use in planning dives.
  • Undertake and evaluate the reproducibility of mapping (i.e., repeat mapping of an area, including comparison to pre-existing near-bottom bathymetric data).
  • Work with NDSF to develop a ‘best practices’ document to provide both NDSF staff and the user community with protocols for high-resolution multibeam mapping using the submersible (including coordination with mapping operations for other NDSF vehicles – ROV Jason and AUV Sentry)


Lighting and Imaging

  • Assess whether illumination and its areal coverage is appropriate for obtaining “high quality” still and video imagery with the HD cameras in their standard configuration. 
  • Verify operations and “ease of use” of recording systems, including in-hull controls, focus/zoom performance, pan/tilt adjustments and aperture settings for each camera. 
  • Assess the ease of producing copies of video and still image data for science and archives, and quality/operational efficiency of duplicate imagery produced by onboard image duplication systems.
  • Optional: Assess the vehicle’s capabilities to collect image series for photomosaicing (with the photomosaics to be made by the science party).


Sampling Capability

  • Verify the ease of using the variety of standard NDSF HOV sampling systems and instruments (http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=21075).
  • Assess both manipulators for delicate manipulation and fine-scale collections of sediments, rocks and organisms.
  • Use a range of basket configurations and payloads to assess basket flexibility, accessibility by the manipulators, and payload capacity
  • Verify mid-water capabilities, including the ability to maintain neutral buoyancy and collect samples of water, particles, and – if possible- organisms.


Instrument Interface

  • Assess the capability to interface user-provided equipment/sensors to the vehicle, including power and communications and basket integration (Note: these instruments must be compliant with HOV safety requirements). 
  • Evaluate the ability of the vehicle to interact with elevators to transport samples/equipment to/from the seafloor.


Ergonomics and Habitability

  • Evaluate the ergonomics in Alvin, specifically how users interact in the personnel sphere with viewports, seating, camera and video controls and monitors, voice recording, other equipment and each other.
  • Evaluate the ease of outfitting and dismantling the Alvin basket before and after each dive.

Pre-cruise planning meeting: Teleconference/Visit WHOI


  Florida Escarpment
  Distance: 1440
  Days: 5
  Latitude: 26° 1.8’ N
  Longitude: 87° 54.7’ W

  Von Damm
  Distance: 1368
  Days: 6
  Latitude: 18° 22.6’ N
  Longitude: 81° 54.7’ W

Funding Agency: NSF #00001

- added NSF #00001 on Feb 5, 2013 10:32 AM by Eric Benway

R/V Atlantis

Shipboard Equipment

Deionized Water System
Fume Hood
Navigation - Heading
Science Underway Seawater System

Shipboard Communication

Basic Internet access via HiSeasNet
Is there an expectation to use Skype or any other real-time video conference program?

CTD/Water Sampling

911+ Rosette 24-position, 10-liter bottle Rosette with dual T/C sensors

Critical CTD Sensors: 

Sediment Sampling

Gravity corers

Sample Storage

Climate Controlled Walk-in
Freezer -70°C 25 cu. ft.
Freezer -70°C 3.2 cu. ft. ea.
Refrigerator 8.6 cu. ft.
Scientific Walk-in Freezer

Storage Notes: Science storage should be adequte in Lab spaces and Sci Hold.

Mobilize first in Woods Hole March 27 - 29.  
Mobilize second in Bermuda May 4 - 6.
Demob:  St. Petersbug FL May 27, 28 & 29.


Will you be using Long Base Line (LBL) navigation? no

Will you be using Ultra-short baseline (USBL) navigation for other than Alvin operations? no



Navigation Notes:


CTD Winch with .322" Electro-mechanical wire
Hydro Winch with .25" hydro wire
Trawl Winch with 9/16th trawl wire

Winch Notes: Trawl winch for any coring activity
Hydro winch possible for any net tows (?).

Wire Notes:
Slip ring required? no Number of conductors: 
Non-standard wire required? no Type: 
Traction winch required? no Describe: 

Portable Vans

Chemical Storage Van
Isotope Van

Other Science Vans:

Specialized Deck Equipment

Mooring Deployment/Recovery Equipment Required: no Type: 
Cruise Specific Science Winch Required: no Type: 
Nets Required: no Type: 

Over the Side Equipment

Will you be bringing any equipment (winches, blocks, etc.) that lowers instruments over the side? no

Special Requirements

Elecrical Power: no Identify: 
Equipment Handling: no Identify: 
Inter/intraship Communications: no Identify: 
Science Stowage: no Identify: 
Water: no Identify: 

Additional Cruise Items/Activities

Explosive Devices: no
Portable Air Compressors: no
Flammable Gases: yes
Small Boat Operations: no
SCUBA Diving Operations: no

Hazardous Material

Will hazardous material be utilized? no

Radioactive Material

Radioiosotopes: yes

Additional Information

Is night time work anticipated on this cruise? yes

Specialized tech support (Seabeam, coring, other): CTD ops

Other required equipment and special needs: 

HOV Alvin

Site Survey

Will you provide detailed charts of the work area(s)?  yes

Current Chart(s):

If no, willl you need R/V Atlantis to generate maps of the work area(s)?  no

Will you need post-dive maps of the work area generated?  no


Will you be using Long Base Line (LBL) navigation? no

Will you be using Ultra-short baseline (USBL) navigation for other than Alvin operations? yes

Vehicle Equipment

Push corers (12-pack rack)
High temperature probe (0-480°C)
Low temperature probe
Scoop nets
Small capacity slurp samplers
Large capacity slurp samplers: single-chamber
Large capacity slurp samplers: multi-chamber
Bio collection boxes: 12 x 12 x 12
Bio collection boxes: 12 x 12 x 24
Major (dual) pair water sampler(s) with ICL temperature probles

What type of samples do you expect to collect?


Will you be using elevators to transport samples to the surface?  yes
If yes, how many would you anticipate?  unknown

Science Supplied Equipment

Are you supplying equipment to be used on HOV Alvin?  yes

Has this equipment been used on Alvin before?  yes

Please give a brief description of the equipment, its intended purpose, the cruise # it was last used on if any and its deployment method.

Does this equipment use an external pressure housing?  yes

Has the pressure housing been tested per Alvin Pressure Test requirements?  yes

Air weight of this equipment?

Water weight(s) of this equipment?

Does the equipment require a power interface from Alvin?  yes

Voltage required

Power required

Data Interface

Does the equipment meet the electrical requirements of the Alvin User Manual?  yes

Please provide power and comms specifics, wiring diagram, pinout, and wiring harness in advance of the cruise.

Does this equipment require hydraulic inputs from Alvin?  no
Hydraulic schematic of the equipment requirements.

Does this equipment require manipulation?  yes

If yes, please describe how the equipment is to be manipulated: 

Will this equipment be deployed off the vehicle?  no

If yes, please describe how the equipment is intended for deployment: 

If yes, will the equipment be disconnected from the vehicle and left in situ?  no

How long will the deployment be? 

Will the equipment be recovered by the same vehicle?  no

Do you intend to recover any other previously deployed equipment?  no

If yes, please describe this equipment: 

Does this equipment use any glass spheres, ceramic housings or similar (non-metallic materials) for either buoyancy or as pressure housings?  no

Do you require any electronic equipment in the personal sphere? no

Has the computer or control panel been gas tested for use in the personnel sphere?  no

Hazardous Material

Will hazardous material be utilized? yes

Additional Information

Brief operations description or comments:

Date Submitted: Feb 5, 2013 10:34 AM by Eric Benway