EPA’s Ocean Survey Vessel Bold

Deeper into the OSV Bold

"The OSV Bold off Ogunquit, Maine"

"The OSV Bold off Ogunquit, Maine"

By Jeanethe Falvey

There is so much more to this ship than meets the eye. On this research trip, I became enamored with a layer of this ship’s character that’s often overlooked.

Crew members frequently wear shirts defining “Bold” across the back. Talk to those who have been with this ship and it fits. It came to EPA as the USNS Bold (U.S. Naval Ship) and became the OSV Bold (Ocean Survey Vessel) in its second life. Though it has a better paint job and newer scientific equipment, it’s the same, strong, ship it always was. Considered safer and more versatile than its sister ships, because of the grit, sweat and dedication put into it day after day.

"Scientists deploy the rosette water sampler and CTD"

"Scientists deploy the rosette water sampler and CTD"

Some spend 11 months out of the year onboard, the Bold is home. Get them going and they’ll talk passionately about the biodegradable hydraulic oil they use to not harm marine life, saving and recycling the smallest bits and pieces. This ship opened their eyes to environmental protection they say. They love how it’s publicly accessible; admitting that being a small part of it makes them feel proud.

There’s “Chief,” who will quietly slip by, but is loaded with stories and more engine room time than most of us can fathom as chief engineer. He helped recover the Bold from Pearl Harbor’s “boneyard,” days before it became EPA’s vessel in 2004. You can see Warner’s dedication, looking quite at home in a blue mechanics suit and knee pads crawling within and maintaining the ships underbelly as it churns away better than most well oiled machines.

Descending into the engine room, I didn’t just walk down more stairs than I expected, I walked decades back into time.
Ear plugs muffled the noise, warm air blew. I thought I was in a different time entirely. Levers and knobs in the control room looked new but were built during or shortly after WWII. Engines looked just painted, the diesel tanks are coated from the inside out and redone as often as needed.

"OSV Bold, Chief Engineer, Gary Jenkins"

"OSV Bold, Chief Engineer, Gary Jenkins"

Walking into the heart of the Bold, I can appreciate how a ship acquires personality and how a crew grows so fond. “A ship dies from the inside out,” Chief says, “but an old truck maintained can still carry wood down the road.” I won’t jinx anything by saying more than this: the engineers say she’s got a lot of time left. Still going strong from a military to a civilian environmental job, here’s to hoping many steady years to come in her mission to better protect our environment; a great deal due to them.

About the author: Jeanethe Falvey, U.S. EPA Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education, based in Boston, Mass.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Headed Off On Our Ocean Research Ship the Bold!

I’m not sure why, but getting on this ship always makes me smile. Maybe it’s the familiar faces among the crew that I’m lucky enough to see every so often, the feeling of the ship when it’s underway, or the smell of Amanda’s cooking. Surely it’s a combination, but above all else, I know the underlying reason this beautiful ship makes me so happy – the sheer fact that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has it to learn more about our world.

Of all U.S. vessels and ships supporting our missions worldwide, this one of ours isn’t gray, anymore. The OSV Bold is bright blue with a proud green, blue and white sash down the bow. This is no ordinary ship.

Today, ferries full of Boston tourists have passed us and I can’t help but wonder what they’re thinking as we wave back and forth.

Just heard a horn blast from the Coast Guard station; we’re off! The tone is serious, but excited as crew members untie and Captain Jere heads up to the bridge.

It’s all for science. This is all to have a better understanding of the
impacts we’ve had on our oceans and coastal environment.

These impacts aren’t just from activities on the water, they’re mostly from what we do far, far away on land. Rainwater and storm runoff carries pollution from our roads and paved areas to rivers and coasts. That pollution can be found miles offshore. It’s not the most beautiful topic, but our sewage ends up out here too. Treatment helps, but it doesn’t make elements of it disappear.

How much can the environment take? Well it varies.  For a long time, dilution was the solution, but our oceans are only so big. The life they support, which we treasure so deeply, can only take so much.

Today through early Thursday of next week (August 11) follow my updates about our trip. Ask questions here or reply to our tweets while I’ve got the ear of some of our best scientists.

At the very least we hope to give you an idea of why we feel this work is so important.

About the author: Jeanethe Falvey, U.S. EPA Office of External Affairs,
Washington D.C. Based in Boston, Massachusetts.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Being Bold

By Pooja Shah

Summer interns sometimes get to do amazing things, and a recent task I was assigned is an example. A recent Monday morning found me, anxious and excited, at Riverbank State Park, in New York City, onboard to help the crew of the EPA’s Ocean Survey Vessel Bold. My assignment was to take visitors on tours through OSV Bold during several days when it was open to the public.

OSV Bold is EPA’s coastal and ocean observation ship. The mission of OSV Bold is to collect samples to help analyze the effects of man’s activities on ocean and coastal waters. Formerly owned by the U.S. Navy, the OSV Bold was used as an intelligence gathering vessel during the Cold War. Now, the ship has been completely converted to support the crew and scientific equipment needed for her mission.

Arguably even better than its history and technology, the OSV Bold contains, in my opinion, the best crew out there. I haven’t been on many ships before and certainly never any ocean survey vessels, so maybe I’m not speaking from much experience. Still, when you’ve got a crew that is caring, friendly, and committed to their work, you’ve got a team that’s one-of-a-kind. A team that’s Bold.

But that’s not even my favorite part. The best part of my day was being able to show other people everything the OSV Bold had to offer. From explaining her fascinating history to children and seeing their expressions to watching as the crew demonstrated her sample collecting equipment and the computer images they generate, OSV Bold took on a new meaning for me as I proudly became a part of her family for two days.

Perhaps the Bold was given her name because of her incredible and dangerous past. Or perhaps because her crew performs tasks everyday that help make our water better and better – no small feat. In the end, being aboard the OSV Bold, means being bold yourself.

Read more about OSV BOLD

About the Author: Pooja Shah is a Public Affairs Summer Intern for the EPA Region 2. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Economics at the George Washington University.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.