R/V Jim Franks

R/V Tom McIlwain available for charter, Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi Sound

Captain – Rick Block

The R/V Jim Franks is a 60-foot aluminum catamaran that carries a crew of three and a maximum of 40 passengers; the vessel is captained by Rick Block. The R/V Jim Franks, commissioned in 2016, was designed for The University of Southern Mississippi, and constructed by Geo Shipyard of New Iberia, LA. The vessel is primarily used for class field trips to and from the Mississippi Barrier Islands and to provide a platform for numerous in-house and external research projects. A normal day on the R/V Jim Franks includes trawling for fish, shrimp, and other bottom dwelling marine life; dolphin watching; trips to the barrier islands; water quality testing; vertical and bottom long-lining for shark and reef species. The vessel is not limited to this work however.

Deck Equipment includes a single-spool hydraulic winch with ¼” or 3/8” cable and slip-ring capabilities; hydraulic A-frame with lifting capabilities up to 3000 pounds used for trawling, box coring, and other overboard deployments; starboard davit and 12 V winch with lifting power up to 450 pounds; compressed air hook ups on back deck; Windlass anchor winch; (2) 12-person Zodiac life rafts; and 2 stern swim platforms.

Electronic equipment includes radar, VHF radiotelephone, DGPS plotter, graphic depth sounder, single side band radio, side-scan sonar capabilities, back-deck cameras, and AIS. The R/V Jim Franks is insured to cover normal research activities of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.  Any additional insurance requirements must be provided by the chartering researchers or program.

Charter Fees

The base rate is for up to 8 hours of use and is inclusive of fuel. Any use beyond 8 hours is prorated. Food and drinks are not supplied for cruises under 12 hours.

Food and drinks are not supplied for day trips.

For more information or to reserve the R/V Jim Franks, please contact Tiffany McNeese at Tiffany.McNeese@usm.edu or (228) 872-4277.

Additional Notes for Charters