Wisconsin's Public Liberal Arts College

L.L. Smith Research Vessel


Natural Sciences Department

L.L. Smith Research Vessel

The L.L. SMITH, Jr. is a 58 foot all steel research tug equipped with a Photo of the L.L. Smithfull array of navigational electronics. Operated by the University of Wisconsin-Superior Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI), the Smith is used extensively for both research and education.  Educational cruises are typically 3 hour charters for groups of up to 25. On the cruise, students study the biology of Lake Superior, environmental concerns, water safety.

The L.L. Smith educational cruises have a range of offerings to interest Photo of the L.L. Smitheveryone from school groups to families. On-board scientists give introductory lectures and slide shows while en route to sampling sites on Lake Superior, where you will: 

  • measure the oxygen content, pH and temperature of the water 
  • collect samples of water, plankton and sediment 
  • examine samples from the Lake using on board laboratory equipment 
  • discuss the impact of zebra mussels, sea lamprey and other exotic species which have invaded the Great Lakes 

School groups of up to 25 enjoy the same three hour ecology program at a reduced rate.  Participants includes: School groups, Scientists, Tourists, Families, Senior citizen groups, Anyone who is interested in learning about Lake Superior.

Aquatic Ecology Workshops can be designed specifically for your sponsoring group.

Photo of the L.L. SmithA typical workshop includes classes and labs on the University of Wisconsin, Superior campus, followed by two to four days aboard the SMITH in the Apostle Islandswhere you will apply your classroom learning. Participants camp ashore each night with the vessel standing by at anchor. A variety of aquatic programs suitable for a broad range of audiences can be presented. Past programs have run from 1 to 6 weeks and have included groups such as high school students, senior citizens, teachers and aquatic veterinarians.

To make a reservation for these classes or for more information, call 715-394-8525.

The L.L. SMITH, Jr. is powered by a five cylinder direct-drive Kahlenberg diesel engine. It has a cruising radius of over 500 miles without refueling. The vessel is inspected annually by the U. S Coast Guard and has a Coast Guard licensed captain with 15 years of experience. On board equipment includes:

  • 20 KW electric generator
  • Laboratory with optical and video microscopes
  • Galley and living quarters for crew on extended trips
  • Hydraulically operated sediment dredge and fish trawl
  • Slide viewers and video monitors for introductory lectures
  • Dissolved oxygen meters, temperature probes and deepwater samplers for both water and sediment collection

For more information about educational opportunities aboard the L.L. Smith, as well as other activities related to Lake Superior, e-mail Susan O'Halloran or call her at the Lake Superior Research Institute 715-394-8525.


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