NOAA Ship Davidson was built in Norfolk, Virginia, and homeported in Seattle, Washington. Commissioned on March 10, 1967, the ship primarily conducted hydrographic surveys for nautical charting in the U.S. Pacific Coast and Alaskan waters.
Davidson was originally a part of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (USC&GS) as a coastal survey ship under the designation USC&GS Davidson (CSS 31). When USC&GS merged with other agencies to form NOAA, the ship became a part of the fleet as NOAA Ship Davidson (S 331).
The ship was named after George Davidson (1825-1911), a geodesist, astronomer, and surveyor. He is renowned for his publications--including Coast Pilot of California, Oregon, and Washington--that detailed the geography and early exploration of the West Coast, allowing mariners to navigate safely in coastal waters. Davidson contributed to the accuracy of geodetic surveys in various countries and played a role in assessing the resources and landscape of Alaska.