Seven finalists named in research vessel naming contest

April 12, 2021

The URI Graduate School of Oceanography is pleased to announce the final seven candidate names for the new National Science Foundation-owned Regional Class Research Vessel which will homeport at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus.

GSO, along with its academic partners and federal sponsors, invited the public to submit names for the under-construction vessel that honor individuals, communities or ideas that have furthered our understanding of the ocean, and whose recognition is long overdue. Between October 15 and December 31, 2020, GSO received 141 submissions—each name accompanied by a brief statement—from ocean science and exploration enthusiasts from across the United States. 

The dean of GSO, Paula Bontempi, formed a diverse and inclusive naming committee with members from GSO, URI, the local community, supporters and partnering institutions to establish an equitable and inclusive process for selecting a name for this new world-class vessel. 

“I am so grateful to all who took the time to suggest one of the inspirational names for this research vessel, which will usher in a new era of ocean exploration and discovery, and a vibrant future for ocean science,” said Dean Bontempi. “I also extend my gratitude to the chair and members of the naming committee, who over the course of two months worked tirelessly to select a final list of vessel names that celebrates excellence in ocean research and honors a commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.”

The set of finalists are: 

  • Rising Tide 
  • Kitthan (Narragansett word for “ocean”)
  • Narragansett Dawn
  • Tomoccon (Narragansett word meaning “rising tide”)
  • Resilience
  • Kitthan Dawn
  • Kitthan Resilience

All of these options were taken directly from submissions from the public, while some were combinations of public-proposed names joined by the committee. The committee and GSO are grateful for the enthusiastic contributions from the following entrants whose submissions were used in whole or part in creating the final list of names:

  • Garrett Connelly, Wakefield, R.I.
  • Bethany Jenkins, Richmond, R.I.
  • Zak Kerrigan, Narragansett, R.I. 
  • Kristopher Krasnosky, Kingston, R.I.
  • Louisa La Farge, Burlingame, Calif.
  • Roberta Marinelli, Narragansett, R.I.
  • Elin Torell, Wakefield, R.I.
  • Karen Tracey, Wakefield, R.I.

GSO will invite these finalists and any immediate family members (if the entrant is underage) to join the new research vessel’s christening at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus in 2023.

Within two weeks, Dean Bontempi will recommend a single name from the finalists to URI’s President and the vessel owner, the National Science Foundation, for consideration and final approval.

In July 2018, the National Science Foundation selected the East Coast Oceanographic Consortium, led by the University of Rhode Island, to operate the new $125 million oceanographic research ship, one of only three such vessels in the nation. The URI-led consortium includes the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of New Hampshire School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering — along with numerous associate members.