The University of New England Center for Excellence in the Marine Sciences has launched a new research vessel to meet academic and student research needs at UNE. The Viking Welding-built vessel will be the university’s most versatile at-sea education and research platform.
The 9.5-metre landing craft, named the Sakohki, can hold 30 passengers and is designated by the US Coast Guard as a research vessel, which means she will be used to conduct basic oceanographic and marine biological field science. Students, faculty and research scientists will be able to access the ocean, travel out to islands, study ecosystems and investigate issues involved with climate change.
The name, Sakohki, is the origin of the contemporary name of the Saco River. It is the Eastern Abenaki word meaning "land where river comes out".
This type of vessel is critical in helping UNE take full advantage of its strategic location at the mouth of the Saco River, with direct access to an estuarine environment and close proximity to rocky intertidal and mudflats. It will give students access to Ram Island, UNE’s own private one-acre living laboratory in Saco Bay. UNE's Center for Excellence in the Marine Sciences and Department of Marine Science supports a team of research scientists that will utilise this boat to collect scientific data spanning the marine science fields such as water sampling to fishing for sturgeon and sharks.