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About the Onrust

The R/V Onrust was owned by the State University of New York and operated by the Marine Sciences Research Center (MSRC) located on the Stony Brook campus. The Onrust was used by MSRC students and faculty as well as outside charterers. Completed in 1974, the Onrust was built especially for MSRC by Rhode Island Marine Service. She was a steel hulled modified offshore lobster boat design. Originally a 55 footer, in February of 1990 a 5 foot section was added to her stern, greatly increasing her work deck area and her fuel capacity.

With the Onrust’s home port in Port Jefferson, Long Island the majority of her work was done in Long Island Sound, New York Harbor, the Hudson River, and in the Atlantic from the south shore of Long Island to the continental shelf edge (approximately 100 miles offshore). However, other projects have taken her as far north as Boston, MA, and as far south as Cape May, NJ. Her low freeboard, large lifting capacity, large work deck and laboratory, and state of the art electronics made her one of the finest and best equipped vessel engaged in coastal oceanographic research.

Lore of the Onrust

The historical significance of the name Onrust dates back to 1614. The dutch trader and explorer, Captain Adrian block, and his crew were stranded on lower Manhattan Island when their vessel, the Tiger, burned. During the winter of 1613-14 these men constructed what is believed to be the first decked vessel built by Europeans in North America. They named their 44 foot vessel Onrust; dutch for “restless”.

The Onrust was launched into Upper New York Bay in April 1614. Later that month she set sail to meet her first challenge, the treacherous passage through Helle-gat (Hell Gate) in the East River. She sailed on to become what many believe to be the first European built vessel to sail in Long Island Sound (‘T Groot Baai). She explored the harbors of Long Island and Connecticut discovering the Housatonic and Thames Rivers, and even sailing up the Connecticut (‘T Versch) River past the site of Hartford. The Onrust continued on to Narragansett and Buzzards Bays, and Cape Cod. On the voyage, Captain Block immortalized his name by designating a small island, Block Island. On the basis of this voyage, the Dutch laid claim to the territory of New Netherlands, a territory that included Long Island and Connecticut.

The last historical account of the Onrust describes her 1616 expedition down the coast of New Jersey to explore the New River (Delaware River) under the command of Captain Cornelius Hendrickson.


  • Length Overall: 60 feet
  • Draft: 6 feet, 6 inches
  • Beam: 16 feet, 7 inches
  • Tonnage: 50 gross tons
  • Hull Material: Steel
  • Cruising Speed: 10 knots
  • Minimum Speed: 1.8 knots
  • Accommodations: 6 berths, galley, and head, air conditioned / heated sleeping compartment
  • Complement:
    • Crew: Captain and mate
    • Scientists: Day Cruises: 20, Extended Cruises: 6
  • Endurance: 50 hours
  • Potable water capacity: 300 gallons
  • Propulsion: Detroit Diesel 12V-71N 400 horsepower, Twin Disc 3:1 transmission, turns 36″ 4 bladed propeller
  • Electrical: Northern Lights 20KW diesel generator 110V/220V AC single phase, Onan 8KW diesel generator 110V/220V AC single phase, 32V DC 65 amp alternator, 12V DC 80 amp alternator
  • Work Deck:
    • Main Winch: Hathaway inline double drum trawl winch, line pull 2,000 pounds @ 40 rpm, with 1000 feet of 5/16-inch 7×19 stainless steel wire and 700 feet of 3/8-inch 7 conductor electromechanical cable
    • Gantry: 2000lb capacity U-frame hydraulic gantry, 3 block positions, min height clearence to deck 10′ (9′ with electromechanical block), min opening 8′ 4″
    • Cargo Boom: 1000 lb capacity, 20′ clearance off deck, 16′ long; can be gunnel mounted
    • Hydrographic Davit: light duty electric winch, 300′ 3/16″ 7×19 stainless steel wire
    • Work deck pilot station
    • 340 sq foot work area, 16′ clear deck area
    • 20″ diameter moon pool
    • Removable stern roller
    • Removable dive platform
    • 13′ inflatable with 15 hp outboard
  • Laboratory Space:
    • 168 sq ft with 21 linear ft of counter space with sinks
    • 20kw air conditioner, 5 kw heater
    • 18 cu ft chest freezer, 1 refrigerator
    • 110V/220V AC, 12V DC, and 125 psi compressed air supply

Standard Equipment and Instrumentation

  • VHF
    • ICOM IC-M125
    • Intermarine SR301
    • Apelco Clipper 90AS
  • SEA 222 Single Side Band
  • Raytheon RAY-410 Loudhailer
  • Motorala Cellular Phone with external antenna
  • Furono FF-7100 72 mile Radar
  • Raytheon R20 24 mile Radar
  • Magnavox MX200 GPS (science interface available)
  • Leica MX51R DGPS (science interface available)
  • Cetrek 727 Autopilot
  • KHL Flux Gate Compass (science interface available)
  • Ritche Magnetic Compass
  • Litton 406 MHz EPIRB
  • 15 Person SOLAS Ocean Liferaft
  • 10 Survival Suits

Retired MSRC/SoMAS Research VesselsR/V Frump | R/V Micmac | R/V Onrust | Lord Jim | R/V Siome

News articles related to the R/V Onrust are below. Click the headline to read the full article.

Celebrating 50 Years With The Risk Of Saying Nothing

Photo above:  At the keynote for our "Risk of Saying Nothing" environmental media conference, five Deans stand with proclamations from local government officials.  From left, Valerie Cartright, Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman, Dr. Malcolm Bowman, Dr. Minghua Zhang,...

MSRC begins renovations on new Research Vessel

  The Marine Sciences Research Center has begun the renovation and conversion of an 80 foot vessel to serve as the center’s new research vessel, replacing the R/V Onrust after 25 years of service.  The new vessel is the former fishing vessel Bagatell, which...

Five Year Plan Charts MSRC Course

With a modern research vessel, shore-side facilities and improved educational programs, the Marine Sciences Research Center (MSRC) will consolidate its position as one of the top-ranked oceanography institutions in the nation. These recommendations were made in the...

The MSRC Alumni Association Newsletter – Spring 1995

Jerry Schubel Leaves MSRC An era passed at Stony Brook on November 1994 when Jerry Schubel left the University to become the president of the New England Aquarium in Boston. Jerry spent 20 years as Director, eventually Dean/Director, of the Marine Sciences Research...

Dipping into Long Island Sound to Study the ‘Blooms’

Photo above: On board the Onrust, Robert Aller and Magali Gerino collect sediment for the Marine Sciences Research Center's study of seasonal changes that occur in Long Island Sound. When the scientists can't get out on the water, members of the Port...

Legislators and MSRC Scientists Cruise Long Island Sound

Above: New York State Senators (from L.) LaValle. Trunzo. Johnson. and Lack get ready to join 17 other legislators and staff for the MSRC legislative cruise aboard the R/V ONRUST and the LORD JIM. MSRC hosted 25 New York State senators, assemblymen, and staff members...

R/V Onrust in the Brooklyn Navy Yard

As the usage of R/V Onrust increased, it was noted that the vessel needed additional space if larger, bulkier and heavier equipment were to be deployed.  Additionally, larger science parties on mult-day cruises would benefit from larger amount of space on the deck....

Marine Center Charts Course

From "Marine Center Charts Course - Facility Growing at Stony Brook" by Tom Morris on Newsday, Monday December 4, 1989. When the brown tide ravaged the East End's scallop crop in 1985 and 1986, the Marine Sciences Research Center at Stony Brook took the lead in...

Checking the Sound – Research vessel studies underway

From "Checking the Sound - Research vessel studies underway" on Newsday by Dianne Selditch PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y.  - Capt. Helmut Christian Stuebe stood at the helm of the research vessel Onrust as it carried a group of scientists to the middle of Long Island Sound....

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