Seaglider Fabrication Center

Deepgliders off Bermuda

The Seaglider Fabrication Center (SFC) of the University of Washington provides new Seagliders™, operator training, and glider refurbishment to internal (UW) customers. SFC is a division of the School of Oceanography, College of the Environment, and is managed by Dr. Fritz Stahr. Please also visit our website for more information and links.

UW signed an agreement in May 2013 with Kongsberg Underwater Technology, Inc. of Lynnwood, WA to be the new external licensee for Seagliders. They will start production as soon as possible having completed the purchase of iRobot's Seaglider business in July 2013. You can find information regarding the Kongsberg Seaglider here.

In 2010, Seaglider #144, build by SFC and owned by Dr. Charlie Eriksen, UW Professor, Physical Oceanography, set a new endurance record, and a new distance-travelled-unaided-by-current record, for autonomous underwater vehicles. Seaglider 144 traveled an excess of 5500 kilometers in 292 days (9.5 months) while working in the NE Pacific at Ocean Station "P" (Papa). It returned to the coast under its own power and was recovered by small boat off Vancouver Island on April 4, 2010. You can see its data here.

See articles about the Seaglider™ in UW and local online news:

University Week The Daily of UW Other

October 15, 2009

March 11, 2008

KOMO News July 13, 2010

April 30, 2009

March 30, 2007

April 7, 2005

February 5, 2004


As of July 2013, 99 units have been delivered to eight different institutions, and another 22 are on order.

Domestic: UW (6 different PIs), Univ of Hawaii (3 PIs), Oregon State Univ (2 PIs), US Navy

International: Univ of Cyprus (Nicosia, Cyprus), Alfred Wegner Institute (Bremerhaven, Germany), Australian National Facility for Ocean Gliders (Perth, Australia), Scottish Association for Marine Science (Oban, Scotland)

The Seaglider Fabrication Center offers three primary products to UW faculty/staff only:

  • Complete Seaglider: All Seagliders come with a Seabird Electronics (SBE) conductivity and temperature sensors, as well as a pressure sensor and an altimeter transducer, forming the basic package for measuring seawater properties and stratification. In addition, various oxygen, optical backscatter, fluorescence, and PAR sensors are available with a standard glider. Other sensors may be added by the user.

  • Seaglider Refurbishment: This consists of various levels of service for internal components of your Seaglider, including sensor calibrations, battery changes, O-ring replacement, etc.

  • Training: Four days of "pilot" training is important to safely and effectively operate a Seaglider. All new purchasers or new pilots should partake. The training typically occurs when the first Seaglider is ready for shipment and includes practice in deploment, recovery and piloting in Puget Sound before actual delivery.