The UW School of Oceanography operates two ships: R/V Thomas G. Thompson, a state-of-the-art 274-foot, 3000 ton vessel, operating virtually anywhere in the world's oceans, and the 72-foot R/V Rachel Carson, working in Puget Sound, nearshore areas, and the Columbia River estuary.
The R/V Thomas G. Thompson is owned by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and operated under a Charter Party agreement by the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington as part of the Academic Research Fleet, within the UNOLS framework (University National Oceanographic Laboratories System). The R/V Thomas G. Thompson (AGOR-23) was constructed by Halter Marine and was delivered to ONR on 8 July 1991. The Thompson is 274 ft in length, 52.5 ft. beam, and at full load has a 19 foot draft. The normal cruising speed is 11 knots, and the Thompson offers a ships complement of 21 officers and crew, 2 marine technicians, and berthing for up to 36 scientists.