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The academic research fleet is facing an impending crisis. In the past decade, we witnessed a remarkable rebuilding of the global and expeditionary ships [Betzer, 1995]. But now, many ships in the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory Systems (UNOLS) fleet, especially those in the intermediate/regional size class, are reaching the end of their useful lives. The Fleet Improvement Committee, with the assistance of the UNOLS staff and operating institutions, has estimated the retirement dates of all the ships in the fleet and tried to look to the future.