Washington Signature
[ Search and Navigation ]   [ View Full Site ]

Center for

Environment & Society

Research Vessels

Callinectes was built for Washington College in 2010 with funding from the U.S. Department of Education. She is designed for teaching and research on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

To charter the Callinectes or the Lookdown, please click here.


At 46 feet long, Callinectes is fully equipped with an array of the latest electronics and environmental instrumentation including trawls, sonar, acoustic seabed classification systems, magnetometers and positioning systems used in mapping and evaluating geological features of the Bay and its tidewaters. On the Chester River, sampling gear is used to collect water and sediment samples that are analyzed to measure nutrients, dissolved oxygen, algal abundance, toxic contaminants and other factors that tell us about the ecological health of the region. This research is conducted under the auspices of the College’s Chester River Observation System and Chester River Field Research Station.

The bay’s shoreline, including its islands and tidal wetlands, spans over 11,600 miles. The Callinectes’ mission is critical to providing college undergraduates, faculty and research scientists with a platform for exploring the nation’s largest estuary, and she serves high school teachers and students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.

The boat is also an ambassador for community building, college relations, advancement, alumni development, student affairs and admissions.

The vessel was christened in Chestertown, Maryland, with the ceremonial breaking of a champagne bottle over the bow and a cannon salute from Schooner Sultana on 17 April 2010. Callinectes sapidus is the species name for the blue crab.

Constructed by Chesapeake Boats in Crisfield, Maryland, the Callinectes has:

  • LOA: 46 ft
  • Hull: Hand-laid fiberglass
  • Beam: 15 ft
  • Draft: 3.5 ft
  • Power: 505 hp C-9 Caterpillar diesel
  • Onboard generator, full electronics
  • USCG inspected
  • Cross Bay transits or research on the main stem of the Chesapeake will be limited to 16 passengers


In April 2013 CES acquired Lookdown from NOAA with the intent to provide additional research opportunities for Washington College students. Lookdown, created for the Coast Guard, will be primarily used for mapping the river with sonar, but will also be available for special trips for water sampling and testing.  

Lookdown is considerably smaller than Callinectes, which works to her advantage. She will be able to access shallower areas of the Chester and coastal areas that are inaccessible to Callinectes

To charter the Callinectes or the Lookdown, please click here.