In coordination with the Sonoma County Health Order, the Bodega Marine Laboratory has suspended visiting hours and public tours until further notice.

Bodega Marine Laboratory and Bodega Marine Reserve are open to UC Davis affiliates who must review and submit appropriate documentation, see COVID-19 Safety Plan & Operating Procedures.

Research Vessel Mussel Point


The 42 foot research vessel Mussel Point is a unique solution to a complicated problem: how to get students and researchers up and down and off our rugged northern California coast with exceptional safety, comfort and economy. The 42-foot Mussel Point, a remarkably fast, stable and maneuverable vessel answers this need ideally.

Powered by twin turbo diesel engines and jet drives in combination with a unique planning hull; her top speed in settled conditions approaches 30 kts. The jet drives and shallow draft permit work closer inshore than a comparably sized displacement hull. A solid foam “sponson” collar serves multiple functions: from a self-fendering system for coming alongside other vessels or moored instruments, to a lateral stabilizer to keep the boat from rocking too severely in a seaway. The sponson, though not necessary to the stability of the hull, adds 14,000 lbs of buoyancy in the event of a catastrophic occurrence at sea.

Our boat is comprehensively equipped with marine electronics and communications, oceanographic instrumentation, and computing system where underway data acquisition can be observed. The back deck is outfitted with a hydraulic A-frame and winch spooled with 600 M conducting cable, and the transom is hydraulically raised and lowered for personnel and equipment deployment and recovery. It is designed to be SCUBA diver friendly, convertible and appropriate for diverse research efforts.

R/V Mussel Point Specifications

  • Marine grade aluminum
  • Lateral sponson stabilizers
  • Twin jet drives
  • Twin turbo diesel engines
  • Top speed 30 kts
  • Winch
  • A-frame
  • Davit
  • Capstan
  • Hydraulic lowering transom
  • Salvage float
  • Shock absorbing captain’s chairs
  • Galley
  • Full head
  • Two berths
  • Aloft seating for science observations
  • Ability to tow nets and research instrumentation from the stern
  • VHF marine band ship radios
  • VHF marine handheld radios
  • SAT phone
  • Oceanographic sensors: CTD, ADCP and thermosalinograph
  • Computer system
  • Underway Data Acquisition System

Projects Using R/V Mussel Point

More than 30 UC Davis research projects and 10 graduate and undergraduate classes undertook expeditions on BML vessels from the Sacramento River to the open sea in recent years. In its first full year of service, the R/V Mussel Point proved its value and versatility as a research and education platform by logging over 400 engine hours, ranging from deep blue oceanic water beyond the continental shelf break to shallow, brackish waters in Tomales Bay. The Mussel Point's unique design allowed the crew to safely collect water circulation data under gale force conditions. It was equally at home functioning as a barge anchored in Bodega Bay for days while plankton samples were pumped aboard. Throughout the year, the RVMP has successfully deployed and retrieved oceanographic moorings, SCUBA divers, grabbed sediment samples, towed electrically controlled nets well below the thermocline, profiled seawater characteristics to 200 feet, and routinely gathered data on sea surface conditions.

R/V Mussel Point Hourly Rates

For more information or booking the Mussel Point contact BML Vessel Operations, (707) 875-1922.

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