Incat Crowther designing hybrid for Great Lakes research

(LAFAYETTE, La.) — The Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI) at the University of Wisconsin-Superior has commissioned Incat Crowther to design a new low-emission battery hybrid research vessel.

Described as a “floating classroom,” the 65-foot U.S. Coast Guard-certified catamaran will support the university’s on-water education and research and features proven parallel hybrid battery propulsion technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help meet the university’s environmental objectives.

Incat Crowther rendering

Incat Crowther has customized the design of the vessel, which can carry 49 passengers and eight crew, specifically to the needs of the LSRI. The main deck features two large state-of-the-art laboratories – one a dry laboratory and the other a wet laboratory – which can also be configured to a traditional classroom setup. Each laboratory is complemented with conveniently located storage spaces while the main deck also features a large 294-square-foot working deck area, two folding dive platforms and two bathrooms.

The upper deck features a large classroom adjacent to the pilothouse, and two survey winches for use with a stern a-frame.

“We are incredibly pleased the Lake Superior Research Institute chose Incat Crowther as their partner to deliver this new, innovative hybrid research vessel,” said Grant Pecoraro, Incat Crowther’s U.S. office managing director. “The collaboration between our teams has resulted in a versatile design which will effectively serve the needs of the Lake Superior Research Institute while reducing its environmental footprint.”

“This project demonstrates Incat Crowther’s commitment to understanding our clients’ needs and developing bespoke solutions to address unique requirements,” Pecoraro continued.

“This stable, quiet hybrid catamaran will enable LSRI to continue and expand freshwater research initiatives, as well as provide opportunities for students and community members to connect with Lake Superior,” said Amy Eliot, LSRI associate director and project lead.

Delivered in partnership with shipbuilder Midship Marine, the aluminum-hulled vessel is the first collaboration between Incat Crowther and the University of Wisconsin-Superior and is expected to be delivered in spring 2024.


Length: 65 feet
Beam: 24 feet
Draft (hull): 3.3 feet
Draft (prop): 4.6 feet
Depth: 7.7 feet
Construction: Marine-grade aluminum
Fuel oil: 1,320 gallons
Biofuel: 530 gallons
Fresh water: 300 gallons
Sullage: 300 gallons
Passengers: 49
Crew: Eight
Speed (service): 17 knots
Speed (max): 18 knots
Main engines: (2) John Deere 6090SFM85
Power: (2) 317 kW at 2,300 rpm
Hybrid system: ESCO
Generator: Northern Lights 30 kW
Flag: United States
Class/survey: U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter T

– Incat Crowther

By Rich Miller