The work of surveying and charting the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay, begun in 1807, shifts to a new vessel Wednesday with the arrival of the R/V Bay Hydro II at Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
The $2.1 million, aluminum-hulled catamaran will be dedicated at an 11 a.m. ceremony near the Harborplace amphitheater. The craft replaces the 21-year-old single-hulled S/V Bay Hydrographer.
To be based at Solomons, the new boat is more than twice as fast as its predecessor, giving it quicker access to Baltimore Harbor, where it is needed most, said Howard P. Danley, chief of navigation services for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It is also more durable, stable and comfortable in bad weather for its crew of three.
The vessel's primary task is to survey water depths and locate shifting shoals and submerged obstructions outside the dredged channels. The Bay Hydro II will be open for public tours after the ceremony until 4 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday.