Research Vessel Lear
The Research Vessel Lear is a 35 foot Bertram with twin 320 diesel engines. It can carry four to six scientists and has sleeping facilities. The Lear was purchased new by EPA to study water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. The Lear is owned and maintained by EPA Region 3 (unlike the larger OSV Bold which is owned by EPA Headquarters and is used by several EPA Regional offices). The ship is named in honor of Donald W. Lear, a prominent oceanographer with EPA Region 3's Annapolis, Maryland office in the 1970's and 1980's.
In the 1990's, the Lear's facilities were expanded to allow studies of coastal waters as well as estuaries. In addition to surface water sampling, the boat is used for benthic (bottom) sampling, fish studies, and diving expeditions. The Lear is used along the coast from the southern tip of New Jersey south to Virginia. The Lear also participates in the cleanup of debris.
During the last few years, the Lear has been used in the following ways:
- water sampling and debris cleanup in the Delaware River
- Earth Day activities (tours of the boat by the public)
- water quality surveys off the coasts of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia
- surveys of our permitted coastal dump sites
- studies of artificial reefs made from old military tanks and New York City subway cars
- survey of marine debris and marine mammals with the National Marine Fisheries Service