Seattle Maritime Academy's Newest Vessel.

OSV BOLD, Seattle Maritime Academy

Instructional Vessel

The Ocean Survey Vessel (OSV) BOLD will provide a world–class training platform for students of the Seattle Maritime Academy (SMA). The vessel will enable students to learn important skills such as operating a diesel electric propulsion system and a sophisticated marine navigation system. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to complete intensive internships on board the vessel when governmental agencies and other organizations charter the BOLD for research missions. It is now one of three training vessels in the academy's fleet.


SMA acquired the vessel from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after successfully competing with other entities around the country for the opportunity to bring the BOLD to Washington state. It traveled four weeks and over 4,200 miles–from the Florida Keys, through the Panama Canal, and up the western coast of Central and North America—finally arriving in Seattle in late August of 2013. It will be moored at the academy's facility in Ballard beginning in September of 2013.

Research Capabilities

The BOLD was previously used by the EPA to conduct water quality research in coastal regions of the United States, and is fully equipped with a host of sophisticated equipment.

Scientific Facilities

  • Wet and Microbiology laboratories
  • Survey Operations Center, equipped with refrigerators, sub–zero freezers, distilled water, computers, microscopes and 85 linear feet of lab benches
  • Data Acquisition Center, with computer systems to support digital data recorded from side scan sonar operations

Sampling Equipment

  • Equipped for side scan sonar to provide digital acoustic images of the sea floor
  • Conductivity, Temperature and Depth Water Profiler
  • Rosette Water Sampler
  • Sediment sampling equipment
  • Dredges to collect sediments and organisms from sea floor
  • Sampling Nets
  • A–Frame to deploy submersibles and other equipment

Underwater Diving Gear

  • 2 Rigid–Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIB)
  • Fully–equipped Dive Locker:
    • nitrox/air compressor
    • 31 SCUBA tanks
    • diver communication devices
    • dry suits
    • full–face masks


The BOLD was commissioned in 1989 by the U.S. Navy as an ocean surveillance ship, collecting underwater acoustical data for anti–submarine warfare. Built by Tacoma Boat Building Company (now defunct) in Tacoma, Wash., its original name was the United States Navy Ship (USNS) Vigorous, later renamed USNS BOLD. After its decommission by the Navy in 2004, the EPA acquired the vessel and renamed it Ocean Survey Vessel (OSV) BOLD to reflect its new mission: studying the water quality along the coasts of the United States.

Facts About The BOLD

  • Overall length: 224 feet
  • Width: 43 feet
  • Draft: 15 feet
  • Displacement: 2,300 tons
  • Speed (sustained): 11 knots
  • Ship operating crew: 19
  • Scientists/support staff: 20
  • Commissioned: October, 1989 by U.S. Navy as United States Naval Ship (USNS) Vigorous as an anti-submarine warfare vessel; later renamed USNS BOLD
  • Decommissioned: 2004; Environmental Protection Agency acquired vessel that year to perform water quality research in coastal areas of U.S.; renamed Ocean Survey Vessel (OSV) BOLD
  • Manufacturer: Tacoma Boat Building Company (Tacoma, Wash.)
  • Estimated value: $7 million to $12 million
  • Range: 3,000 nautical miles; capable of staying at sea up to 90 days at three knots
  • Propulsion: four Caterpillar 398B auxiliary generators powering three GE electric motors producing 3,200 BHP
  • Berths: 37

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