Students tour Research Vessel Sally Ride


La Jolla High class visits new oceanography ship

Students in Dave James’ marine science classes at La Jolla High had the opportunity Oct. 30 for a private tour of the state-of-the-art oceanography Research Vessel (R/V) Sally Ride.

“I really got a sense for what life with a career of studying marine biology would be like,” said senior Jamie Becker.

The field trip was timely because the students had just finished a unit where they researched on different technology used by oceanographers. They learned about satellite oceanography, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), SCUBA diving gear and diving suits, as well as research vessels.

The tour of R/V Sally Ride was a real treat because Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) associate director Bruce Applegate (who is responsible for ship operations and marine technical support) gave the tour. Applegate walked the students through the ship, showing them the wet lab where samples are worked up, and the data control center with 16 monitors that show live data being collected. They also toured the bridge, saw crew and scientist living accommodations, and spent time on the main deck working area where various sampling equipment will be put in the water.

The R/V Sally Ride is owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by SIO at UC San Diego. This 238-foot-long ship is outfitted with the latest technological capabilities, can carry 24 scientists on up to 40-day missions, and supports interdisciplinary research across the oceans. Research from the ship will help scientists learn more about changing ocean conditions, such as global climate change, study the seafloor, and help assess the status of marine fisheries.

In addition to providing a hands-on experience and inspiring students to follow different scientific careers, the trip provided a wonderful motivation for young women to pursue science and math — R/V Sally Ride was named after the first American woman in space, who was also a member of the UCSD physics faculty.

“The data that marine biologists are able to acquire on these highly advanced vessels is mind blowing and I’m so happy I got to learn more about it!” said junior Catherine McBee.