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- Long Island Sound
We've taken a few educational boat trips over the years but yours was by far the best all-around experience. The highlight had to be the breadth of sea life we pulled up and got a chance to investigate, interact with and, of course, learn about."
– Rockland County, NY, camp director
Revolutionary in design, this new catamaran is the only research vessel in North America with hybrid-electric propulsion. She runs virtually silently on electric power for our 2½-hour study cruises on Long Island Sound.
The 63-foot all-aluminum vessel replaces a diesel-powered trawler. With more room inside and out, the new research vessel doubles capacity. School teachers can plan on bringing a full busload of students. Public cruises, school group charters and private parties now enjoy a cleaner and greener venue on Long Island Sound.
Designed by Incat Crowther of Australia, Spirit of the Sound was built in Mamaroneck, NY, at the Robert E. Derecktor Inc. shipyard, with construction managed and integrated by Alternative Marine Technologies (Amtech). Her hybrid-electric propulsion system was made by BAE Systems Inc., Corvus Energy and Northern Lights Hybrid Marine.
Major contributors include: the Per and Astrid Heidenreich Family Foundation, George & Carol Bauer of Wilton, and The TK Foundation.
Our new boat's godmother, Astrid Heidenreich, breaks the ceremonial bottle of champagne on the bow of our new boat. Pulling the boat closer to the dock is Project Manager Robert Kunkel, Amtech.
Launch season sponsor
Cool video of our new boat being built (time-lapse), launch, it's first arrival in Norwalk and its christening. Describes the new boat's hybrid electric propulsion system.
School groups, Scouts, camps and other groups can charter the R/V Spirit of the Sound for study cruise programs onto Long Island Sound.
(This link is to Grades 4 & 5, but the cruise content on that page applies to Grade 3 as well.)
Study marine biodiversity from the water’s surface down to the bottom for a first-hand understanding of Long Island Sound's interdependent marine life. Participants utilize such sampling techniques as a plankton tow, biodredge, mud grab and otter trawl that may bring up fish, crabs, squid, skates and more. A videomicroscope and touch tank onboard enhance observations.
Passengers must be over 42" tall. If under the age of 21, you must accompanied by an adult. Capacity: 29.
ADVANCE RESERVATIONS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. Capacity is limited. Cruises do sell out. We recommend you purchase your tickets in advance. (Walk-up tickets are sold, space permitting. Ask any cashier when you arrive.) The U.S. Coast Guard sets limits for number of passengers on board.
Schools or other groups of 10 or more interested in a Marine Life Study Cruise should click on the appropriate grade levels above under Cruises for Schools & Other Groups. Or call our Reservations Dept. at (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206, Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. or email
What happens on a Marine Life Study Cruise?
Here's a story by It's Relevant
Cruises can occur in rain, cold and wind, and are canceled only if conditions are dangerous. Please dress accordingly!
All observations made on study cruises are recorded. This data is part of an ongoing student-based research project called the Long Island Sound Biodiversity Study. Details ...
Norwalk's public dock is just across the river from our dock. Join us to learn what's under your keel, or spot seals or experience the first hybrid-electric research vessel in the U.S.A. There is plenty here for a weekend trip. Check out this travel story by New England Boating, Report from the field: Norwalk, CT.