NOAA 2004-R432
Contact: Ben Sherman
NOAA News Releases 2004
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs


The Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) today marked the transfer of a 29-foot research vessel from NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary to the university during a special ceremony in Elizabeth City, N.C. The R/V Hawk will be used for hands-on, student-based coastal and estuarine research projects. NOAA has partnered with ECSU through the Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions.

“NOAA is pleased that the R/V Hawk, which has served Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary so well, will now serve the students and faculty of Elizabeth City State University,” said Tim Keeney, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. “NOAA shares the university's commitment to excellence in research, education, and diversity.”

ECSU Chancellor Dr. Mickey L. Burnim says the donation of the boat will improve the way students conduct research. “We greatly appreciate NOAA's generosity. The boat will allow for greater access to area waterways and significantly improve our capability to conduct research so important to the learning process,” Burnim said. “The university, particularly our environmental and marine science program, looks forward to a continued partnership with NOAA and future opportunities to advance coastal and estuarine research.”

ECSU students and investigators will use the R/V Hawk to conduct coastal and estuarine habitat mapping, monitoring and restoration research in northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. The vessel will also support algal and fish population studies in the Pasquotank and Albemarle sounds. Students who use the R/V Hawk will be trained in the use of Global Positioning Systems, Geographic Information Systems, and remote sensing tools for coastal habitat protection, enhancement and restoration.

The R/V Hawk is a diesel-powered, fiberglass 1979 Crosby built in Vineyard Haven, Mass. During its nine-year service with NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, researchers used the vessel to study whales, shipwrecks and fish.

Virtually the size of the state of Rhode Island, the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary stretches between Cape Ann and Cape Cod in federal waters off of Massachusetts. The sanctuary is renowned as a major feeding area for marine mammals, particularly the endangered northern right whale as well as humpback whales, and supports an ecosystem of diverse wildlife. The sanctuary is part of NOAA's 13-site National Marine Sanctuary System, which is managed by NOAA’s National Ocean Service.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources.

Elizabeth City State University, a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina, offers 34 baccalaureate degree programs in the arts and sciences, selected professional and pre-professional areas, and the master's degree in elementary education, biology and mathematics. Originally an institution serving African Americans, the university's rich heritage provides a strong background for its increasingly multicultural student body. By providing a challenging, student-centered learning environment, the university prepares its students for responsible participation and leadership in an ever-changing world. Through teaching, research and community outreach, the university is a valuable resource for developing the intellectual capital of the state and the nation and for addressing the environmentally sensitive economic needs of northeastern North Carolina.

On the Web:


NOAA’s National Ocean Service:

NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program:

NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary:

Elizabeth City State University: