The R/V Lake Guardian sails on behalf of the USEPA Great Lakes National Program Office, gathering environmental data to gauge the health of Great Lakes.

What's Happening?

The 2016 sampling season has ended!

What's it like to be a Marine Technician on the Lake Guardian? Find out here.

Check out this recap of the 2016 Summer Survey, as told by live social media updates.

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Where's the Guardian?

Featured FAQ

Who runs the Lake Guardian?

The Lake Guardian is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency research vessel operated by the Chicago-based U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO). All of the Lake Guardian crew members are contracted out by the EPA from a company called Cetacean Marine, which is based out of Florida.

How many people are there on the ship?

The Lake Guardian has a permanent crew of up to 15 people, however the berthing capacity of the Lake Guardian is 42 passengers. The number of additional passengers varies by cruise, depending upon how many EPA and visiting scientists are involved with a particular project.

What are the size and capacities of the boat?

The Lake Guardian is 180 feet in length and has a depth of 14 feet, displacing 850 tons. The fuel capacity is 79,000 gallons, the ballast water capacity is 76,500 gallons, and potable water capacity is 29,000 gallons. Berthing capacity is 42 passengers. For more information, check out Ship Specifications

Who makes up the crew?

ThLake Guardian has up to 15 permanent crewmembers. The crew is made up of a captain, first and second mates, marine technicians, ordinary and able-bodied seamen, engineers, galley staff and steward. While out on the water the ship is manned 24 hours, with crew members working shifts of 6 hours on and 12 hours off.

Where did the ship come from?

The Lake Guardian was constructed in 1981 and operated in the Gulf of Mexico as a supply vessel for offshore oilrigs until 1988.  It was then purchased by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and converted into what is now the EPA’s largest research and monitoring vessel on the Great Lakes.

How long has the ship been operating?

The Lake Guardian has been operating as a research vessel on the Great Lakes since 1990. Prior to its conversion it had been in operation in the Gulf of Mexico from 1981.

How much fresh water can be stored on board?

ThLake Guardian has a potable water capacity of 29,000 gallons.

Where does the Lake Guardian get fuel?

The ship fuels up in its homeport in Milwaukee, WI. Refueling can take an entire day, as the Lake Guardian can hold up to six tanker trucks worth of fuel.

Where does the ship go?

The Lake Guardian travels throughout all five Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario) and their connecting channels.

How fast can this ship go?

The Lake Guardian has 2 engines, each with 1200 horsepower, and has a cruising speed of 10.8 knots. That is equivalent to 12.4 miles per hour on land.