Website Options

Options below affect the visual display. Choices are stored using browser cookies.

  • The low bandwidth option causes most images to disappear and stops external fonts from loading.

  • The underlined links option causes all website links to become underlined, making them easier to distinguish.

  • The high contrast option causes colors to change to mostly black and white.

Utility Navigation

Marine Operations


NOAA Ship Gordon Gunter is a multipurpose oceanographic research vessel whose primary mission is to study marine mammals and other living marine resources.

When surveying for marine mammals, visual observers scan the ocean with 25×150 “bigeye” binoculars, each mounted on a solid platform with a fluidly rotating head. The optical equipment includes a reticle scale to enable distance measurement along a three-mile-wide vista. The ship tows a hydrophone array to hear and record marine mammal sounds, 24 hours a day.

The ship collects fisheries data by stern trawling, longlining, and the deployment of plankton nets and other types of gear.

This T-AGOS class ship has four laboratories: a wet lab for trawl sampling; a dry lab for computers and project-specific equipment; a versatile hydro-chem lab that can also be used for acoustic monitoring; and a computer lab that houses the ship’s internal network.

Gordon Gunter was commissioned in the NOAA fleet in 1998 after being transferred to NOAA from the U.S. Navy (where it served as the U.S. Naval Ship Relentless) and converted for research purposes. In addition to adding modern navigation electronics and oceanographic equipment, NOAA installed observation stations and laboratories.

In 2010, NOAA called on Gordon Gunter to use its sophisticated sonar equipment and other scientific instruments to help define the subsurface plume near the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill site and adjacent area.

The ship is named after named after Dr. Gordon Gunter, whose career as a marine biologist and leader in marine research and education spanned more than 60 years. Dr. Gunter was a guiding light in the study of the waters in which the ship operates. Gordon Gunter is homeported at NOAA's Gulf Marine Support Facility in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

 To learn more about NOAA Fisheries, please visit

You are here:
Reviewed: November 22, 2015. Contact us with page issues.

"Access controlled" content.