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 7x19 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″ 7x19 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.

Cruising Thru a Marine Science Cruise

From Cruising Thru a Marine Science Cruise by Joe Caponi on the SB Press V. 09 N. 04, October 27, 1987 The bottom of Stony Brook's Marine Science research vessel, the Onrust, does not extend very deeply into the water. It was designed so the ship could operate in...

Stony Brook’s Waste Management Institute – Solving a Burning Issue

Above: The Onrust - named for the first ship built in North America--after dropping anchor in Long Island's Conscience Bay.  Photo by Sue Dooley. From Stony Brook's Waste Management Institute - Solving a Burning Issue  by Sue Risoli on the Stony Brook Magazine, Autumn...

R/V Onrust Fishing for Facts in NY’s Harbor

From Fishing for Facts in NY's Harbor by Peter Marks in Newsday on Friday July 5, 1985 They hauled enough fish aboard to make a cauldron of seafood gumbo. Not only fish, but an astonishing array of sea life - everything from starfish and small sharks to crabs, shrimp,...

MSRC Participates in High School Apprenticeship Program

From High School Apprenticeship Program by Sally Sargent in the Brookhaven Bulletin, August 3, 1984 It may have been wet outside last Friday, but there was no rain on the students' parade.  "Sometimes things work out less than ideal, but then we're not here for a...

Private dollars help MSRC help ocean life

The coastal reef, built by MSRC researchers by dropping blocks of coal wastes In September 1980 (above) still provides a habitat for ocean life, non-state funds were used to initiate this Innovative environmental project, as well as other projects conducted on board...

R/V Onrust samples habitats for Westway Project

From Westway promises to be boon for fishermen by Jerry Kenney in the Daily News on Monday March 7, 1983 When critics say something's fishy about the controversial Westway Project, they might be right. But, if all goes as planned, one group that will come out smelling...

Students Take Education to the Sea

From Students Take Education to the Sea on The Stony Brook Press by Erik L. Keller October 25, 1979 It's a spectacular morning. The orange sun is peeking through a streaked sky and the gulls cry in the day. Calm Clear Warm The right time to be on the University's...

Taking the Sea Seriously

From Taking the Sea Seriously from the Stony Brook Review V. 10 N. 01, September 1976 IT MAY BE SUMMER FUN TO US, BUT IT'S YEAR-ROUND WORK IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST TO THE SCIENTISTS OF THE MARINE SCIENCES RESEARCH CENTER For most of us, the sea means fishing, sailing,...

The Seafaring Restlessness of the Dutch Renewed After 361 Years

From THE SEAFARING RESTLESSNESS OF THE DUTCH RENEWED AFTER 361 YEARS on the Stony Brook Review, V. 9, N. 2, December 2, 1975. Last April, 361 years after the original ship Onrust was launched, its 20th Century namesake, a research vessel of the University's Marine...

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