PCMSC research vessel Parke Snavely

Science Center Objects

Information about the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's research vessel Parke Snavely, acquired in November 2007.

View looking down from a bridge and onto a boat's stern and cabin top as it passes under the bridge.

Photo credit: Jenny McKee, USGS PCMSC

The USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center acquired research vessel (R/V) Parke Snavely in November 2007. Snavely is a 34’ Armstrong Catamaran with an open stern and an aluminum hull. Her beam is 10’6” and she drafts 3’9” (1.5 meters). She features a self-bailing welded aluminum deck, removeable boarding, port-side dive door, and internal sea chests.


Small silver metal boat with USGS lettering on the side, water is splashing up on the side and a small wake is formed.

Photo credit: Tom Reiss, USGS PCMSC

The boat is named after Parke D. Snavely, Jr. (1919 - 2003), a pioneer of marine geology research at USGS.


Photograph of a metal research boat as it motors slowly through a yacht harbor and is about to pass under a bridge.

Snavely in Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor where she docks

R/V Snavely is principally a seafloor mapping boat, used in many seafloor and nearshore operations:

  • sonar mapping
  • LiDAR mapping
  • seafloor photography/videography or “ground-truthing”
  • sampling



  • 2007 Armstrong
  • Length: 34 ft
  • Beam: 10.5 ft
  • Draft: 1.5 meters
  • Propulsion: Twin Volvo Penta D6 -300
  • Drive: Volvo Penta DuoProp outdrives
  • Cruising Speed: 25 knots
  • Fuel Capacity: 220 gallons
  • Endurance: 200 miles



  • 12kw marine diesel generator
  • 13 ft a-frame w/ 2000lb tugger winch
  • 6 ft davit w/ hydraulic capstan, 800lb
  • Several deck winch options



  • Submetrix 3-100 m interferometric sonar
  • Reson 50-500 m multibeam sonar
  • EdgeTech Chirp sub-bottom profiler
  • Minisparker sub-bottom profiler
  • Bottom camera tow sled
  • Lidar scanner
A large truck is parked near the wall of a building with a boat on the attached boat trailer.

One of the unique features of our “big little boat” R/V Parke Snavely is that it can be towed by truck and trailer.