A Seabeam echo-sounder system, which produces a real-time contour map of the ocean floor from a moving ship, will be installed in the research vessel Thomas Washington during the fall of 1981. This will be the first such system installed in an American academic oceanographic ship. Acquisition and installation of the equipment was jointly supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) with a grant from the Fleischman Foundation.
Use of the system is open to any investigator from any institution. A national scheduling advisory committee, appointed by ONR and SIO, held its first meeting at San Francisco, December 10, to establish the general areas of operation for the first 18 months of use. During this period the ship will work in the eastern north and equatorial Pacific, and the western North Atlantic, roughly between 15° S to 45° N, 30° W to 165° W. Proposals for work within this area should be sent to appropriate funding agencies (NSF, ONR, NOAA, DOE, et al.).