Research vessels can be anything from small boats (some less than 4 meters) for near-shore work to very large ships (some greater than 120 meters) capable of oceanic research lasting several months at sea. They provide a mobile platform for marine research and can carry a wide variety of sampling and surveying equipment. Most research vessels have laboratory space on board so that researchers can begin to analyze the material they collect during a cruise. Some of the more advanced ships have special diesel electric engines that minimize noise that may scare away fish and marine mammals. The Census of Marine Life utilizes a variety of different research vessels including icebreakers that are specialized for getting researchers into unique frozen marine habitats. Larger vessels allow the deployment of scientific teams having expertise in different areas of biology and different kinds of organisms.
The R/V G.O. SARS  (named after a famous Norwegian oceanographer, George Ossian Sars), used by the MAR-ECO project, is one of the most advanced research ships in the world. (Institute of Marine Research)
The R/V ATLANTIS  is used by the ChEss project as well as many other oceanographic research programs. (Biogeography of Deep-Water Chemosynthetic Ecosystems Project – ChEss)
The decks of research vessels can become congested with the large amount of equipment used to study the oceans. (Gulf of Maine Area Program – GoMA)