NOAA 99-R831`
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani

Ship will hold public open house at Chelsea Pier 62 on Sunday, October 17, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship Rude – the hydrographic survey ship that located the wreckage of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s aircraft on the sea floor – is in New York through Oct. 17 to survey the Hudson River south of the George Washington Bridge to 55th Street, NOAA said today.

A public open house will be held on Oct. 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Chelsea Piers, Pier 62 South, Surfside 3.

Rude (pronounced Rude-dee), which uses sonar technology to locate sea floor obstructions and other navigational hazards for nautical charts, is conducting this survey at the request of the New York Harbor Safety, Navigation and Operations Committee and the U.S. Navy for the safety of ships transiting the river, and to ensure the safety of vessels participating in the OpSail 2000 event next year. These high-resolution surveys will be used to update the nautical charts of the area, which are currently based on surveys from 1939.

The OpSail 2000 flotilla will include tall ships from more than 36 nations, and more than 200 international military and other types of vessels. Thousands of spectator vessels are also expected to accompany the ships. Updated nautical charts are critical for their safe passage. The 90-foot Rude will use three types of sonar -- vertical, side-scan, and multi-beam -- not only to locate and determine the shallowest depths, but also to identify objects or formations (called contacts) on the river floor by producing picture-like images.

This is the same technology that was used to find the wreckage of the Kennedy aircraft after its tragic crash in July, enabling Navy divers to perform their recovery operations.

As part of the NOAA fleet of survey and research ships and aircraft, Rude is operated and managed by the Office of NOAA Corps Operations, composed of civilians and commissioned officers. The NOAA Corps is a uniformed service of the United States, composed of officers – all scientists or engineers – who provide NOAA with an important blend of operational, management and technical skills that support the agency's programs at sea, in the air, and ashore. Rude is home ported in Norfolk, Va., and commanded by Lt. Cmdr. James Verlaque, NOAA Corps.