Kaunānā is a 40’ aluminum-hulled catamaran workboat that has been outfitted to support coastal oceanographic research and intended to support day-time operations in the main Hawaiian Islands. It is equipped with a small oceanographic winch, a 12’ A-frame and an 8’ J-frame. An underway scientific sea water system (USSW) acquires water temperature, conductivity, dissolved oxygen and fluorometry data. A survey-grade GPS receiver provides positioning along with velocity and heading. Depth is provided by a 50 kHz / 200 kHz transducer. The vessel is equipped with a CTD that can be deployed either with a soft line or an electromechanical cable (.322”). The working deck supports equipment deployment and recovery and includes an outside sink for scientific use with hot and cold freshwater. Salt water is provided by the USSW as well as an independent washdown faucet. Dive operations are supported with a dive ladder that can be deployed over the port side. The port side of the main cabin is dedicated to science with a rack-mounted computer system, a work table and a dedicated sink for scientific use, plumbed with hot and cold freshwater and salt water from the USSW. Two AC circuits (120 VAC, 20A) are dedicated to science, one of which is protected by a 2000VA online, double-conversion uninterruptible power system (UPS). Data communications are provided by an LTE cellular modem and a cellular booster that extends both voice and data communications.
Kaunānā has a mess table that seats four and a galley with sink, refrigerator, microwave and hot plate. Hot and cold fresh water is provided by a 179-gallon water tank. The head is plumbed into a 100-gallon sewage tank. Forward under the bridge is a cuddy with a small day berth. A 6kW generator provides 120/240 VAC power underway. The bridge is equipped with a 15,000 BTU air conditioner and a 24,000 BTU air conditioner is being installed to cool the main cabin.
For more information about scheduling the R/V Kaunānā, contact the Director of Research Vessel Operations.
R/V Kaunānā underway near Daimond Head, Honolulu.
In November 2021, the University of Hawaiʻi Marine Center took possession of the M/V American Discovery, a 40' aluminum-hulled catamaran workboat, which was donated through the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation by Foss Maritime, the owner of Young Brothers. The M/V American Discovery operated as a crew transport vessel for offshore oil platforms in Alaskan waters. Through the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation additional funding was secured to convert the vessel into a coastal oceanographic research platform able to operate as a day boat throughout the main Hawaiian Islands.
In June 2022, the vessel was renamed Kaunānā (meaning “to discover”) in consultation with Puakea Nogelmeier, professor emeritus of Hawaiian language at UH Mānoa; given her future in learning new things about our coastal Hawaiian waters. Kaunānā is an old term used in the Bible and in some early accounts of seafaring. Although, it has become somewhat rarified in modern vernacular, the name carries a sense of exploration and history.
In June 2023, R/V Kaunānā completed her sea trials and is now operational. We are looking forward to many years of near shore science and eduation!