COAST Explorer ready to set sail for Arran!

The RV COAST Explorer, a versatile and multifunctional vessel that will help deliver a range of restoration, research and education projects, is en route to Arran, with arrival set for the beginning of November. The boat is set to arrive in Ardrossan this week where she will be safety tested before undertaking the passage over to Arran.

COAST Explorer, a 9m catamaran, was built by hand in Great Yarmouth by Phantom Marine. Owner Karl Hawkins engaged with COAST from the beginning to create a unique muti-functional vessel, which is customizable for various uses and adaptable to allow for different deck configurations. The boat is fully wheelchair accessible, with a bathroom, galley and generous wheelhouse, with a deck that can be reconfigured for a range of different research and outreach purposes.

COAST director, Áine Purcell-Milton, alongside COAST co-founder Howard Wood OBE and trustee Russ Cheshire, visited the boat in the final stages of construction in October and received in-depth training in her many bespoke features.

Áine says: This research vessel will become a vital resource to COAST facilitating the advancement of marine scientific research in collaboration with leading universities as well as allowing us to monitor the recovery of the waters around Arran and surrounding areas.

The high-spec features of COAST Explorer will allow COAST to develop their research into the recovery of the Lamlash Bay No Take Zone, which recently celebrated its 14th birthday, the South Arran Marine Protected Area and the wider Clyde region. COAST aims to expand its programme of scientific monitoring and citizen science, using the vessel as a platform to deploy remotely operated vehicles and drop-down pole cameras.

Citizen science will be an integral part of the COAST Explorer’s remit, providing the community, local school pupils and children attending the Arran Outdoor Education Centre an opportunity to participate in hands on scientific research on board.

The support of the local community over the last 25 years has been paramount to the success of COAST. COAST hope that the arrival of the new vessel will allow the island to realize the full potential of Arran’s marine conservation areas and raise the profile of Arran as a destination for marine environmental education, knowledge exchange and eco-tourism.

COAST invites all local community members to join them in celebrating the safe passage of the RV COAST Explorer to Lamlash Bay and give her the warm welcome. Follow their social media pages for updates and stay tuned.

COAST Explorer hits the water at Phantom Marine, Great Yarnmouth. Photo credit: COAST