A New Vessel to Support Lake Champlain Sea Grant Education and Outreach Efforts

By Anna Marchessault
August 01, 2023

The R/V Marcelle Melosira is a research and teaching vessel operated by the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at UVM. After years of waiting, the R/V Marcelle Melosira finally made it home to the University of Vermont dock at the Burlington waterfront on July 23. While we will always hold a special place in our hearts for our last research vessel, the R/V Melosira, the new vessel is outfitted with several new features that support cutting-edge research and exemplary educational programing.

First, the boat has a maximum capacity of 29 passengers, 10 more than the previous vessel. This means Watershed Alliance can accommodate bigger class sizes and allow greater participation in public events. Summer camps, K-12 classes, and teacher trainings will all get to engage in hands-on learning aboard the new R/V Marcelle Melosira.

“The research vessel is an incredible resource for our students, community partners, and researchers,” said Jason Stockwell, Director of the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory. “With increased capacity, state-of-the-art equipment, and an improved classroom environment onboard, the Marcelle Melosira greatly enhances our ability to do impactful research and education.”

The new boat runs on a Hybrigen® propulsion system engineered by BAE Systems. This diesel-electric hybrid system features two electric motors, lithium-ion batteries, and two 306-horsepower Cummins diesel generators. The vessel boasts a custom catamaran hull construction designed to minimize resistance on the hull and ensure stability in windy conditions. It can run on all-electric power for trips of up to three hours and will operate with reduced vibration, noise, fuel consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, the new vessel and boat ramp design and infrastructure are modeled after ADA building codes to ensure safe and inclusive access for anyone who would like to come aboard the R/V Marcelle Melosira.

“The new vessel is an asset to our Lake Champlain basin communities and will provide a state-of-the-art research and laboratory classroom space for our K-12 educational programming,” shares Ashley Eaton, LCSG’s Watershed and Lake Education Coordinator. “Students will be able to come aboard and conduct water quality sampling, explore food web dynamics, and learn about current and emerging research. The vessel itself is a great teaching tool, from how the hybrid-engine works to the future of marine technology.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the R/V Marcelle Melosira and upcoming events and opportunities, subscribe to the LCSG monthly newsletter and the Watershed Alliance newsletter. Read more about how the Rubenstein School will use the Marcelle Melosira.

The R/V Marcelle Melosira, other UVM research vessels, and projects in the Lake Champlain watershed are high priorities for federal, regional, and philanthropic partners. Significant funding for specific projects and for the upkeep and operation of the fleet comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the estate of alumnus F. Peter Rose ’54, and former Senator Patrick Leahy