Research Vessels

The Darling Marine Center has a fleet of boats available for charter including two 16′ skiffs and three custom-build uninspected research vessels: 23′ Silversides, 26′ Nucella and 42″ Ira C. A full-time Captain operates the two largest vessels, and oversees all vessel operations to ensure safety. Users of the smaller boats must meet minimum DMC and University of Maine certification requirements. An 18’ jib crane capable of lifting 2000 pounds is available for loading heavy oceanographic sampling gear.

To guarantee vessel availability, we recommend making reservations as far in advance as possible by contacting. For more information or to make reservations, contact Robbie Downs, Captain, by email at, or by phone at 207-563-8306 or 207-581-5306.

Charter rates can be found on our fees page.

    picture of the R/V Ira C.R/V Ira C.

42′ LOA • 14′ Beam • 6′ Draft
Powered by a Volvo 162C Diesel @ 510hp
Trolling valve allows .5-2knots
10 knots, 25 gallons/hour • 7 knots, 5 gallons/hour
(normal cruise speed)
Two 300 gallon fuel tanks with usable capacity of 550 gallons

Launched in 2000, the Ira C. is the flagship of the DMC fleet. Based on a traditional Maine lobster boat, it has a 42′ fiberglass Wesmac hull with a stretched and split wheelhouse. A large open deck and counter/lab space in the wheelhouse make the Ira C. a stable and versatile platform for teaching and research projects along the Maine coast. The Ira C. can carry up to 24 students.

Single phase 120v A/C electric power available on two separate buses supplied by:

  • 8KW Diesel generator
  • 3KW Inverter

Electronics / Navigation

  • Northstar 962 DGPS
  • Garmin 76 WAAS GPS
  • Furuno 1943 Radar
  • Furuno FV-292 Sounder 50/200Khz 1KW
  • 2 Fixed Icom VHF Radios
  • Icom M700 SSB

Safety / Survival

  • GPIRB 2 SOLAS “A” 6 person life rafts
  • 8 Stearns Immersion suits
  • Fire Boy Fire Suppression System
  • 2-10 lb. fire extinguishers
  • Portable Manual Bilge Pump/Damage Control Kit
  • 2 CO monitors

Deck Systems

  • 12″ pot hauler 11′ articulating A-frame
  • Hawboldt HSW-1020 Trawl Winch with 240 fathoms of 5/16” 6×7 wire and 2000 lb. pull at full drum
  • A-frame mounted cargo/hydro winch with 40 m. of 3/16” cable
  • crane1Sea-Bird Electronics (SBE) CTD, Sound Ocean Systems ECO winch with conducting cable, real-time data display and water sampling capability. Additional sensors include SBE dissolved oxygen sensor, Biospherical scalar PAR sensor, WET Labs C-Star transmissometer and ECO-FLNTU (optical backscattering at 700 nm; chlorophyll fluorescence ). The SBE ECO water sampler has three four-liter Niskin bottles that are electronically closed at specified depths.

An 18′ jib crane capable of lifting 2000 pounds is available for loading large oceanographic sampling gear.

R/V Nucella

26′ LOA • 9′ 3″ Beam •
3′ Draft (with engines down)
Powered by twin 200hp outboards
25 knots cruising speed (weather/seas permitting)
two fuel tanks with a total capacity of 180 gallons

The Nucella was custom built for us by Winninghoff Boats, Rowley, MA. With an aluminum semi-vee hull, cabin and open deck, dive door and twin outboards, she is an efficient and stable platform for estuarine and near shore scuba research. The Nucella is operated out of the Darling Marine Center from May-October. The aft deck measures 7′ x 9″ and the main cabin has two 2.5′ x 3′ shelves (upper and lower) and a 1.51 x 4′ work bench/seat on the port side.


  • Ratheon RL-9 Radar
  • VHF Radio
  • Garmin 2006 GPS WAAS and DGPS
  • Sitex bottom sounder 50/200 KHz

Safety / Survival

  • ACR Type 1 EPIRB
  • Avon 6 Person Life raft
  • 2 5lb dry chemical fire extinguishers
  • Type IV with 60′ line
  • Throw bags
  • Distress Signals


  • Dive door and ladder
  • Roll control tank racks for 12 SCUBA tanks
  • Electric bit head mounted on J Davit 500 lb. SWL (safe working load)

R/V Silversides

23′ LOA • 8′ Beam • 3′ Draft (with engine down)’
Powered by 130 hp Honda outboard
20 knots cruising speed (weather/seas permitting)
Fuel capacity of 60 gallons

The Silversides is a 23′ aluminum boat with a deep-vee hull and a center-console cockpit. It operates less than 3 nautical miles from land from May – October.


  • VHF Radio
  • Ratheon RL-9 Radar
  • Ratheon 265 bottom sounder 50/200 KHz
  • Garmin 2006 GPS WAAS and DGPS

Safety / Survival

  • 5lb dry chemical fire extinguisher
  • Type IV with 60′ line
  • Throw bags
  • Distress Signals


  • Roll control tank racks for SCUBA tanks

16′ Lund
25ph outboard engine
Generally used as a yard boat, but limited local, off site use is possible.

16′ Carolina Skiff
40ph outboard
Generally used as a yard boat, but limited local, off site use is possible.