Ship Life

Scenery captured aboard Lake Guardian

The Lake Guardian sails throughout all five Great Lakes between March and October each year on a quest to gather environmental data. For the duration of this time 14 crewmembers live and work on the ship. The remaining space can hold up to 27 visiting scientists, who come aboard for brief stints to use the ship’s sampling equipment and lab spaces to complete their research activities.

The crew and scientists work round-the-clock, adhering to a 6-hours-on, 12-hours-off schedule. The ship’s passengers are divided among the 16 cabins on board, that come furnished with a bunk bed, desk, locker space, and access to either a private or shared bathroom. Round-the-clock work schedules make it important to keep noise to a minimum at all times while on the hotel floor, to respect individuals that may be sleeping when off duty.

A full time galley staff prepares meals each day and officers, crew, and scientific personnel all eat together at set meal times. When off duty, crewmembers and scientists can relax by watching TV or playing cards in the lounge, working out in the exercise room, or using computers in the office. Many crewmembers enjoy exploring different ports while docked between cruises.

Get a glimpse into the daily life aboard the R/V Lake Guardian by watching this playlist.



The R/V Lake Guardian sails on behalf of the USEPA Great Lakes National Program Office, gathering environmental data to gauge the health of Great Lakes.

What's Happening?

The 2018 sampling season has begun! See the full schedule here »

Read about the Lake Guardian and Captain Mallard in the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant newsroom »

Check out a social media recap of the 2016 Summer Survey »

Featured Pages