OSV Bold

before the makeover – United States Naval Ship Vigorous (1989), a Tactical Auxiliary General Ocean Survey class vessel:


after the makeover, now – Ocean Survey Vessel Bold of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) (since 2004):


OSV Bold

Built: 1989 at Tacoma Boat Building Company,  Washington
Overall Length: 224 feet
Width: 43 feet
Draft: 15 feet
Displacement: 2300 tons
Speed, Sustained: 11 knots
Ship Operating Crew: 19
Scientists: 20

The OSV Bold monitors and assesses the health of ocean and coastal waters, and the standards to which they aspire others to have, they hold for themselves.

They follow safe discharge practices (of blackwater, greywater, oils & greases, lab chemicals, and ballast water), emit low sulfur dioxide, and are compliant with the International Maritime Organization’s International Convention of the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships by using a hull coating that does not contain organotin pesticides and has a low copper leach rate.


Bottomgrab, otter trawl (not for otters, but fish), a rocking chair dredge are deployed from the A-frame to collect samples which are studied in the wet and dry labs onboard.

towfishThe side scan sonar, towed behind the vessel, produces digital acoustic images of the ocean floor and can echo back a signal up to a depth of 300′. CTDA water profiler, the CTD device, measures physical water characteristics throughout a column of water in real-time. A camera behind a glass (not shown), captures images of the sediment profile layer, cutting through ocean floor and peeking at denizens’ burrows, grain size, et cetera.

The Bold was docked briefly this week for tours at Pier 17. For more information and schedule at other ports, look at their website and their official blog. And see it Tugsterized.

16 Responses

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  1. tugster said, on 2009/09/22 at 06:00

    you’ve captured the blue perfectly, and i love the towfish. that’s the fishiest SSR i’ve ever seen.

  2. tugster said, on 2009/09/22 at 06:21

    here was my take: i realize i should have gone aboard and looked at details like your otter trawl (poor otters 🙂 and rocking chair dredge . . . . the names themselves smack of poesie.

    • bowsprite said, on 2009/09/22 at 06:22

      you shoulda seen the iambic pentographer and the haikunator

    • Rick Spilman said, on 2009/09/22 at 11:00

      Who knew that the EPA had such fashion sense!

      Great bold blue with navy, teal and white accents in a sweeping hull stripe and stack highlights. Balanced white deckhouse with a saucy blue chapeau. You go girl!

      Was she in town for Harbor Week or Fashion Week? Makes the old T-AGOS 12s look pretty shabby in their Emo grays.

      As always, love your watercolors.

      • bowsprite said, on 2009/09/22 at 15:25

        oh, I resonate to emo greys!
        thx, OldSaltBlog!

  3. tugster said, on 2009/09/22 at 16:31

    what in tarnation is emo gray . . . . kinda like emu brown except in grey and with a varied vowel?

      • bowsprite said, on 2009/09/22 at 21:48

        Ah! I see it is NOT Emo grey that I like, but rather emu grey.
        “Emo” is a grey area i’m not going to touch.

        thx for the Hipster’s Dictionary link.
        Heard at Pier 66 (Hi, Jasper):
        “How many hipsters does it take to change a lightbulb?”
        “Oh, some number you’ve never heard of.”

  4. Allen Baker said, on 2009/09/22 at 20:25

    Nicely done Bowsprite.

    I sailed on a TAGOS ship more than 20 years ago when I sailed for the Military Sealift Command.
    They were lousy ships, uncomfortable and no money to be made!
    We towed a 2 mile long cable under the ruse of mapping the sea floor. Those of us aboard knew better, we were tracking Soviet submarines!
    45 to 60 days at sea, zig-zagging across the Atlantic Ocean…the only good part being there was this very cute female “scientist’ (I got to chat with via an intercom for course changes) that made the very lonely 4 to 8am watch something to look forward to.
    “Bold” is in Baltimore as I write this.
    Allen Baker

    • bowsprite said, on 2009/09/22 at 21:33

      I am going to collect your sea stories, Allen!

    • Kennebec Captain said, on 2009/10/17 at 19:16

      Yes, I was on one as well. Everything seemed to be in the wrong place. On night the newspaper I bought fell into a space between my bunk and the bulkhead before I had read it. I didn’t know where it had gone . The next day I walked to the office and resigned from MSC.

  5. tugster said, on 2009/09/22 at 20:44

    ok ok . . . it’s pretty bad when i need a dictionary to keep up with compartments of english i don’t frequently open. thank fer bringing me up to speed though.

  6. Mage B said, on 2009/09/23 at 13:19

    Not only am I truly interested in the OSV BOLD, but your notes are riveting. How about Paynes Grey? Yes, you have broadened my vocabulary.

  7. JP said, on 2009/09/24 at 08:11

    Nice pics Bowsprite!

  8. Buck said, on 2009/09/25 at 15:48

    You make the mundane interesting. Brava!

  9. gary said, on 2010/05/04 at 21:11

    i work on the bold,have since the epa took over.

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