NOAA Ship Ferrel was equipped specifically for oceanographic studies of coastal and inshore waters. Though Ferrel normally worked a six-day week, she had an nine-day endurance, a range of 1,200 nautical miles, and a cruising speed of ten knots. Modified from a basic design for an off shore oil rig supply boat, she had twin screws and a bowthruster to improve maneuverability. Various instruments used in her work were prepared and deployed through the combination of a large open fantail, crane aft, trawl winch, an A-frame and oceanographic winch located midships. Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Ferrel worked on projects along the East and Gulf coasts throughout the year. Ferrel was named after Professor William Ferrel, who developed a tide prediction machine in the 1880s.