The way that some local scientists study the waters around the Tampa Bay Area just got a whole lot better.
Today the R/V W.T Hogarth was christened and launched into the waters, a new vessel that will be used to study oil spills and red tide and marine life that is vital to the environmental health, and economic health, of the Tampa Bay Area.
The 78-foot boat was built by Duckworth Steel in Tarpon Springs, and is named after William Hogarth, a recently-retired dean of the USF College of Marine Science, and a leader in the scientific response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
"The R/V W.T. Hogarth will be a welcomed addition to Florida Institute of Oceanography's (FIO) fleet that will provide exciting new technical capabilities to enable world-class research and educational opportunities that helps Florida understand and preserve its critical marine environment," said FIO Director Philip Kramer
William Hogarth was at the ceremony Tuesday and called the boat's name a great honor, and the boat itself a necessary upgrade for students scientists.
During the 2016 Legislative Session, the Legislature appropriated and Governor Scott approved $3 million in state funding to match $3.3 million raised from FIO member institutions and the City of St. Petersburg to construct this new state of the art marine research vessel for the State of Florida.
Over the next four months, the new ship will undergo final outfitting of its state-of-the art equipment, testing of systems and sea trials before the vessel is operational.
The home port for the R/V W.T. Hogarth will be at the USF College of Marine Science in St. Petersburg.
The new boat replaces the near-50-year-old R/V Bellows.