R/V Bellows (Retired)

On August 29th, 2019, FIO said "Bon Voyage!" to its workhorse vessel for more than 4 decades.

Research Vessel (R/V) Bellows is now ported in the Carolinas with TSR, Inc. (Treasure and Shipwreck Recovery). Under the leadership of renowned deep-sea archaeologist, Dr. Lee Spence, she will now be used in search of shipwrecks.

For more than 45 years since its acquisition in 1972, the R/V Bellows worked along the Florida estuaries and coastlines: securing her place in ocean science history in the 2005 expedition to Pulley Ridge, in which she was recognized for being the first vessel to discover the deepest reef powered by sunlight in the United States.

Pulley Ridge, the nation's deepest photosynthetic reef, was found 100 miles west of Key West in water about 60 to 90 meters below the surface. The data from mapping, along with collecting sediment and algae samples, helped scientists trace the reef's origins to ancient submerged barrier islands. Working as one of five vessels on the massive exploration project, the Bellows was used to conduct remotely operated vehicle and side-scan work on the examination of the reef.

The R/V Bellows transected the Gulf, the Florida Keys and Bahamas providing answers to questions about ocean geology, red tide movement and was called into action collecting contaminated water and sediment samples from the Deepwater Horizon spill oil. In addition, during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill she played a critical role gathering baseline data along Florida's coast to compare future impact from the oil.

Research and Educate

R/V Bellows in the news