Floating University: RV Celtic Voyager (Concluded)

EUROFLEETS+ Floating University – “Mapping the Ocean Floor: An Introduction to Practical Aspects of Hydrographic Surveying”

RV Celtic Voyager 

Cork, Ireland, February 19th to February 25th, 2020

The EurofleetsPlus “Floating University”

Eurofleets+ is a unique consortium of research vessels, equipment and scientists supported by 42 marine institutes, universities, foundations and SMEs from 24 countries around the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.  A key objective of Eurofleets+ is the delivery of five Floating Universities for early stage researchers of marine related sciences.  Floating Universities will address a range of themes and topics and focus on the applications and operation of research vessel data acquisition and sampling systems and equipment. 

General course objectives

This floating University took place on the RV Celtic Voyager in Cork Harbour and its approaches on the South Coast of Ireland.  Teaching  focused  on the operation of multibeam echosounders (MBES) and sub bottom profiling and their applications for mapping and characterising the seabed.  Offshore training was supported by lectures, workshops and online resources. 

Learning objectives

The overarching objective of the training programme is knowledge transfer in state of the art hydrographic surveying from key personnel within the INFOMAR project to an emerging cohort of marine scientists and researchers. On completion, participants of this floating university were be able to:

  • Demonstrate competence in designing and executing an offshore hydrographic survey
  • Articulate understanding of the principles and methods applied to seabed surveying
  • Practice data acquisition and data processing for MBES and Sub-bottom Profiler systems
  • Operate software suites for data visualisations
  • Present the applications of hydrographic data products to policy makers, managers and stakeholders
  • Recognise the interpersonal skills for professional conduct on board research vessels.
  • More effectively compete for studentships, research opportunities and employment in the Blue Economy

Course content

This Floating University took place in Cork on the South Coast of Ireland from the 19th to 25th of February. 

Before joining the vessel, students attended a two-day workshop on the survey area, data acquisition systems, datasets and the integration of these in products for end users and stakeholders.  Survey planning for seabed mapping, site exploration and environmental status will form a central strand of the workshop.

Offshore training  followed the workshop and occupied three days aboard the Celtic Voyager with students embarking and disembarking each day at 08:30 and 17:30 at the quays in the centre of Cork. 

The first day of Celtic Voyager activities on day 3 of the Floating University concentrated on interactive demonstrations of:

  • Multibeam Echosounding to resolve the bathymetry and texture of the seafloor
  • Sub-bottom profiling for charactering the materials the seafloor is composed of
  • Ground truthing the acoustic classification of the seafloor with physical samples obtained with a Day grab and mini ROV imagery
  • Calibration of echosounders with sound velocity probes

On day 4 students were presented with the opportunity to practice their new skills through the medium of a team exercise tasking them with the design and implement a hydrographic survey of a potential dredging site in the Harbour approaches.

Celtic Voyager activities concluded on day 5 with training in the operation of the Conductivity Temperature and Depth (CTD) instrument package, sampling of benthic infauna and deployments of core samplers.

Screening, exploration and analysis of the survey data took place on days six and seven with the aim of producing a detailed model of the survey area.  The programme finished on the afternoon of day seven with presentations by the students of their data and findings.

Time plan

The course was from the Wednesday 19th of February to Tuesday 25th of February 2020

Participants were expected to arrive on the Tuesday evening 18/02/2020 in Cork, Ireland.







Introductory lecture, pre-cruise planning



Instrumentation Orientation


RV Celtic Voyager


Offshore training

RV Celtic Voyager


Offshore training

RV Celtic Voyager


Offshore training

RV Celtic Voyager



Screening, analysis and visualisation of the survey data will take place on days six and seven with the aim of producing a detailed model of the survey area. 



Poster presentations by the students of their data and findings.



Instruction on this EUROFLEETS+ Floating University will be from expert practitioners from the INFOMAR project (Marine Institute and Geological Survey Ireland) with guest lecturers from the Marine Geology Research Group at University College Cork, and the National Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics (OGS), Italy.

Application – Closes

A total of 8 positions were available for European post-graduate students (students of all nationalities enrolled at European universities) and the selection will be based on the information provided in the application form.

Online application form available to access at


Applications must be received by 22/11/19

Successful applicants will be notified by 06/12/2019

At the end of the course a certificate of completion was delivered to all participants. This included a module descriptor of the course.

No special certification was required to apply.

Costs and travel grants

The course was funded by EU H2020 project EurofleetsPlus

The course was free of charge, but participants need to pay for their own travel expenses including accommodation and food.

Cork is easily accessible through Cork City Airport and also has good train and bus access from Dublin.

Cork Airport Route Map

Dublin Airport to Cork Bus Route

Go Bus


A travel reimbursement up to maximum of €300 was available after application. The support was given on submission of proof of expenditure by each individual.  Reimbursement claims should be made to Bernadette.NiChonghaile@Marine.ie


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