Seaglider Fabrication Center

Deepgliders off Bermuda

The Seaglider Fabrication Center (SFC) of the University of Washington provided 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 was managed by Dr. Fritz Stahr. It was closed in November 2018 after supplying more than 125 Seagliders, 8 Deepgliders, and 4 Oculus Gliders to customers around the world. 

UW signed an agreement in May 2013 with Kongsberg Underwater Technology, Inc. of Lynnwood, WA (now Hydroid Inc.) to be the new external licensee for Seagliders. They produce various versions of the UW developed gliders after taking over from our first licensee, iRobot, back in July 2013. You can find information regarding the Hydroid 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


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

International Customers: 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 offered 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.