Around the Pier: New Research Vessel Bob and Betty Beyster to Arrive at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

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A new, fast coastal research vessel will join the fleet of ships managed by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego thanks to a philanthropic initiative that raised more than $1.2 million in honor of the late Dr. J. Robert Beyster, founder of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and his widow Betty Beyster.

Research Vessel (R/V) Bob and Betty Beyster will enable scientists at Scripps Oceanography and others in the teaching community to conduct local research, technology development and ocean-based education. The vessel is expected to be available for use in San Diego later this spring. 

Scientists and students at Scripps have long benefited from a fleet of research vessels to conduct oceanographic research at sea. There has been a need, however, for a vessel with a nearshore range, low daily cost, and adaptability to support advanced research with local and global impact.

The new R/V Bob and Betty Beyster is a 42-foot scientific workboat with a range of 800 kilometers (500 nautical miles), a cruising speed better than 25 knots, and a capacity for six scientists and a boat operator. The vessel, which will be owned by Scripps, has an A-Frame for lifting up to 4,000 pounds, an adaptable deck foundation for configuring and securing technology, and a computer-controlled engine system to automatically maintain position and heading, which will be useful for the range of research and technology development anticipated onboard.

In 2017, Cindy Glancy, a member of the Scripps Director’s Council that advises Director Margaret Leinen, identified this vessel as an opportunity to memorialize the impact of SAIC and Bob and Betty Beyster.

“This vessel marked the perfect way to honor Bob and Betty’s legacy,” said Glancy. “It appealed to many people as an important project to recognize the Beysters’ impact on their lives, particularly Bob’s vision in starting an employee-owned company and Betty’s continued friendship and mentorship.”