NOAA Ship Rude (pronounced "Rudy") performed inshore hydrographic surveys along the east coast in support of NOAA's nautical charting mission, specializing in the location and accurate positioning of submerged hazards to navigation. Rude was named for Captain Gilbert T. Rude
Rude was equipped with some of the most technically advanced hydrographic and navigation equipment available, including Differential Global Positioning Systems DGPS, a multibeam bathymetric sonar system, and side scan sonar(SSS). Rude was equipped with several hydrographic data acquisition and data processing systems. She was also fully equipped for diving operations to allow determination of the precise nature of submerged obstructions.
When conducting a search for an underwater obstruction, Rude deployed a side scan sonar and multibeam bathymetric sonar system. Housed in a small torpedo-shaped shell called a "fish," the SSS provides an accurate acoustical image (sonogram) of the bottom extending up to 150 meters on each side of the ship. The actual amount of bottom coverage acquired is dependent upon the depth of water, the towfish height and specific water characteristics. During typical survey operations in depths between 10 and 60 meters, a 200-meter wide bottom swath can be examined as the "fish" is towed slowly astern. All potential hazards to navigation identified using SSS are further investigated using the multibeam bathymetric sonar system and ship's divers to determine a precise description of the hazard and the minimum depth of clearance.
At 90 feet and 220 tons displacement, Rude was the smallest ship in the NOAA fleet. Rude carried a 19-foot Boston Whaler used as a diving platform and personnel transport. A 26' Monark, transported by trailor, assisted Rude with inshore surveying.
Aside from hydrographic surveying, Rude was called upon to assist the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy in search, rescue, and recovery operations. Rude located the TWA flight 800 wreckage off of Moriches, New York in 1996, located John F. Kennedy Jr.'s plane off Martha’s Vineyard, found the Bow Mariner wreckage off the coast of Chincoteague, Virginia, as well as discovering an uncharted wreck on the edge of a major ship traffic lane approaching New York, the Ionnis P. Goulandris.