Marine Engineering and Technology

Marine Engineering Lab

Location: GLRC B001
Contact: Guy Meadows

Explore one of the most exciting fields in coastal ocean freshwater research, coastal hydrodynamics, in the Marine Engineering Lab. Our work encompasses a wide variety of research areas with a similarly wide geographic distribution, ranging from the North Slope and Bearing Glacier of Alaska to deep within the Great Lakes. Our location only 10 miles from the shores of Lake Superior provides us with an ideal winter proving ground—allowing us to expose the latest technologies to some of the harshest marine conditions on Earth.

Some current research topics include:

  • Long-term coastal erosion monitoring
  • Shoreline evolution prediction
  • Engineering structure placement evaluation
  • Plume transport and circulation analysis
  • Forensic investigation of accident sites
  • Assessment of offshore wind energy potential
  • Impact loads of wind, waves, and ice on offshore structures

Important Equipment

S/V Polar

As one of the Great Lakes Research Center’s fleet of three surface vessels, the S/V Polar provides a highly mobile research platform. The S/V Polar is frequently used to service the Upper-Great Lakes Observing System (U-GLOS) environmental monitoring buoys in northern Lake Michigan.


Our newest fully autonomous underwater vehicle joins our fleet of subsurface vehicles, which are used extensively in the lab for a variety of research, educational, and service-related missions. Our other remotely operated vehicles are capable of diving to 1,000 feet below the water's surface.

Vessel Deployment Center

Location: GLRC B006
Contact: Guy Meadows

Serving as a year-round service area—and a winter home—for our fleet of watercraft, the Vessel Deployment Center plays an important role at the GLRC. Our collection of buoys is also serviced in this three-story facility.

The Vessel Deployment Center features direct access to the GLRC’s dock system, allowing for our vessels to be lifted in and out of the water—and serviced—in a short period of time.

Important Equipment

Marine Travel Lift

Standing over 22 feet tall, this crane is capable of lifting up to 70,000 lbs.

Also Includes:

  • Machine and Fabrication Shop
  • Field Equipment Wash-down Room
  • Field Aquatic Equipment Maintenance and Secure Storage Facility