Boats & Vehicles

BMSC’s research support fleet includes an offshore vessel, the M/V Alta (13 m), which operates bottom trawls, dredges, and hydrographic and oceanographic instrumentation; a high-speed dive tender, M/V Barkley Star (10 m), supports diving and the ROV. Both vessels carry 12 passengers plus crew. Nine smaller boats (from 5 to 8 m) support field work.

All researchers, students and staff operating BMSC’s vessels are expected to be familiar with BMSC’s boat policy.

Requirements for operating BMSC power boats for researchers, faculty, students, and BMSC staff:

14 ft & 16 ft Copes:

  • PCOC (Pleasure Craft Operators Card);
  • Valid Marine Basic First Aid or any 2-day (16 hrs) First Aid – CPR-C course recognized in B.C.
  • complete a boat checkout and safety briefing by BMSC Foreshore staff.

Skiffs and the Raider:

  • SVOP (Small Vessels Operator’s Proficiency certification;
  • Valid MED A3 (Marine Emergency Duties);
  • Valid Marine Basic First Aid, or any 2-day (16 hr) First Aid – CPR-C course recognized in B.C.;
  • Marine Radio Operator’s Certificate;
  • complete a boat checkout and safety briefing by BMSC Foreshore staff.

The only exceptions are for foreign boaters, or a higher level of Canadian marine safety training.

“Foreign boaters” should link to Transport Canada Visitor Information


BMSC has two rowboats, the ‘Loligo’ and ‘Postelsia’ for student and faculty recreational use within Bamfield Inlet. The rowboats were built by Whaler Bay Boat Yard on Galiano Island in 1979 by Greg Foster. The design is patterned after a traditional Newfoundland dory called a ‘Labradory’.


BMSC has a 24-passenger bus for transporting clients on local field trips. We also have a 12-passenger van and two pickup trucks for for local field trips and sample collection for students and researchers. Our drivers carry ICBC Class 4 Commercial Drivers Licences, and carry out a mandatory in pre-trip checklist.

the ROV

The underwater Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) is a Deep Ocean Engineering Phantom HD2+ with 165m tether (rated to 300m), including a high-resolution video camera, lasers for scaling, electronic depth sensor, electronic navigation system and top-side monitors.

Funding for the ROV was made possible by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

the Skiffs

Three aluminum skiffs (8m) and the ‘Raider’ are used to transport students and researchers to field sites to the Deer Group and Broken Group Islands, and function as a SCUBA dive and research platforms.

the Copes

Our fleet of research support vessels includes four 14′ and one 16′ aluminum ‘Copes’, each carrying four passengers. University students and researchers are trained to operate these vessels to access field sites for course work and research activities.

A PCOC and a valid,  2-day (16 hrs) First Aid + CPR course recognized in B.C.

MV Barkley Star

The M/V Barkley Star (10 m) is a high speed aluminum vessel, is designed to carry 12 passengers plus crew for high speed transport or to act as a dive tender and support vessel for the remote operated underwater vehicle (ROV).

The Barkley Star is outfitted with the latest in navigation equipment such as GPS receiving/plotting, radar imaging, depth sounding and marine VHF communication systems.

MV Alta

The M/V Alta operates bottom trawls, dredges, hydrographic and oceanographic instrumentation, has a range of 600+ nautical miles and a running speed of 9.5 knots. Maximum capacity is 12 passengers plus crew.

The M/V Alta was built in 1981-82 by Little Hoquiam Shipyards, WA. The fibreglass design is by Monk with modifications by Jack Sarin. Funding for the M/V Alta was provided through the University of Calgary by the Devonian Group of Charitable Foundations and the Province of Alberta.