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WHOI Small Boat Program

Photo by Doug Nowaceck. Permit numbers: Us permit NMFS 1014 and Canadian DFO2000-489.

Boating Program Description

At times, WHOI researchers, students and others use small boats that they operate themselves for coastal or other research projects. This can be either a WHOI owned boat or a bareboat chartered vessel that is operated by the person chartering the vessel. The Small Boat Management Program is intended to ensure that WHOI small boat operators are appropriately trained and have access to the vessels they need for their work. The Small Boat Management Program and Operators Manual is intended to introduce small boat operators to the WHOI small boat operating procedures and certification process. Operators are expected to be familiar with the information presented, to be certified, and to operate small boats using the guidelines. All boats, whether maintained by WHOI or chartered must be in good working condition and meet all applicable safety and licensing requirements.

Click here for a copy of the Small Boat Management Program and Operators Manual

Borrowing a Small Boat

Most small boats at WHOI are in a small boat pool and available to borrow. If you would like to borrow a small boat, please contact Kim Malkoski. Individual labs or groups of PIs maintain each WHOI small boat and they may require you to hire one of their technicians to run and operate the boat. Any fees for using the WHOI small boat are determined by each lab to cover fuel and maintenance costs and, if applicable, the cost of their technician to run it.

Operator Training and Certification

Anyone who operates a small boat at WHOI must be a certified small boat operator. This includes bareboat charters. Here are links to some approved operator training courses:

Other courses may be acceptable subject to approval by Marine Operations.

Small Boat Operating Requirements

  • There must be at least two people onboard vessels while underway
  • A float plan and cognizant person are required for every trip
  • The Operator is responsible for the safety of boat occupants
  • Small boats may not be operated during Small Craft Advisory conditions

Float Plans

Every small boat voyage requires submission of a float plan and identification of a cognizant person before departure. The Smith Lobby desk can serve as the Cognizant Person for local trips. See the Small Boat Management Program and Operators Manual for details.

Float plans should also be sent to Kim Malkoski, the small boat program coordinator, for records.


Feel Free to email or call Kim Malkoski at (508) 289-3522 or stop by the Dive Office (3rd Floor Iselin building above the Port office).

Remember that for small boat, near shore operations, PIs are expected to ensure that the boat meets applicable boating safety regulations of the USCG, state and local authorities and to exercise prudent judgement about the safety of such operations.