ROV Luʻukai

UH SOEST has a 6000m rated ROV, Luʻukai (“Sea Diver”), designed and built by DOER Marine, Alameda CA. SOEST took delivery of the Luʻukai in 2013. It is a two-part, “top hat” system, consisting of the vehicle itself, performing science operations on the seabed or in the water column, and a Tether Management System (TMS) which hovers above the working vehicle and relays power and data to and from the support ship on the surface. The two components are launched, recovered and transported to the ocean floor as a stacked unit. Upon arrival at the work site, the ROV vehicle is “undocked” from the TMS and piloted to the seabed to commence a mission. Upon completion of the mission, the vehicle is docked to the TMS and the “stack” is then recovered to deck.

ROV Luʻukai is available for sampling and data collection from abyssal to shallow coastal and seamount waters. In its current configuration, Luʻukai is deployed from R/V Kilo Moana only. Scientists planning to do ROV work with UH SOEST should contact the DRVO or the Tech Manager for schedule and cost information. ROV data analysis services are also available through the Deep-sea Animal Research Center (DARC).

For more about our expeditions and research, follow the Luʻukai on social media. #rovluukai


  • ROV Luukai in the shop
  • Waiting to load the ROV onto Kilo Moana
  • ROV Luukai on deck
  • Maintence Van
  • Control Van
  • ROV Launch
  • Slack Tension Unit (STU)
  • View from the Navigator's Seat
  • ROV Landing on Deck
  • Control Screens
  • A-frame out ROV over back deck