Vessels and platforms available through the CSD Facility for open-water coring and drilling are shown below. Fill out our Equipment Rental Form or contact Facility staff for more information, pricing or logistical questions.

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Local Platform Design

When working in remote locations where equipment weight and volume considerations are paramount or where it is impractical to ship a coring platform, lightweight platforms of opportunity can be constructed. Contact facility staff to discuss platform design for your specific coring needs.

Three photos of boats constructed from inner tubes, plywood and other locally sourced materials


The cataraft, an off-the-shelf model manufactured by Aire, is comprised of two 4.5m inflatable pontoons, a rigid metal frame, and two standard sheets of plywood or their equivalents. For work in remote areas a lightweight fabric decking is available. It is a small platform that can be easily transported or shipped to distant locales and assembled on site.

  • Dimensions and Weight: Length: 4.8m Width: 2.4m Tower Height: 0m weight: 90 kg, plus deck
  • Moonpool: Yes
  • Shipping Requirement: air/surface freight
  • Transportation Requirement: hand carry
  • Deployment Requirement: clear shore access
  • Contact: CSD Facility
  • Accessories: Anchor line, Anchor
Pontoon boat with research equipment


The CSD Facility has 3 aluminum canoes, 2 lightweight Kevlar canoes, and canoe outriggers that can be used for increased stability when sampling. Alternatively, two canoes can be braced side-by-side for better stability during soft sediment core recovery operations. A platform based on canoes can be assembled more quickly than the cataraft, but is more difficult to transport (and cannot be shipped easily).

  • Dimensions and WeightLength: 5m Width: 2m Tower Height: 0m Weight:22 kg each, plus beams
  • Moonpool: Yes
  • Shipping Requirement: surface freight
  • Transportation Requirement: hand carry / vehicle roof rack
  • Deployment Requirement: clear shore access
  • Contact: CSD Facility


Kevlar canoe loaded with gear and stabilizers


Wilderness Systems Pamlico 145T

  • Dimensions and Weight: Length: 4m Width: 0.7m Tower Height: 0m Weight: 20 kg
  • Shipping Requirement: surface freight
  • Transportation Requirement: hand carry / vehicle roof rack
  • Deployment Requirement: clear shore access
  • Contact: CSD Facility

Inflatable Kayak

  • Dimensions and Weight: Length: 3m Width: 0.5m Tower Height: 0m Weight: 5 kg
  • Shipping Requirement: post/courier
  • Transportation Requirement: hand carry
  • Deployment Requirement: clear shore access
  • Contact: CSD Facility
Researchers prepare n inflatable kayak



The Achilles SXG-132 is an inflatable boat with aluminum floor. It fits up to 6 people and is compatible with our available 20hp outboard motors. This is a soft hull inflatable boat with removable modular flooring and is more portable than a zodiac.

Inflatable boat on a lake


The CSD Facility zodiac is a 2004 Zodiac International model 550 SRMN. It is an inflatable boat with a rigid hull. Length is 18’ 1” with a 90hp outboard motor.

2 views of zodiac boat: grey inflatable rigid hull boat with a motor


The CSD Facility has two 14 foot (4m) aluminum boats that are easily towed behind a vehicle and rapidly launched at a boat access point. They can be used for water sampling and surface coring with cable-deployed devices.  One is a Mirro Craft, the other is a Crestliner Nighthawk.

Motorboat with research equipment and researcher


CSD Facility has two 19 foot Carolina Skiff boats. These are flat bottomed fiberglass boats with no seating.

  • Dimensions and Weight: Length: 6m Width: 1.8m Tower Height: 0m Weight: 400 kg, plus motor
  • Shipping Requirement: 20-foot shipping container
  • Transportation Requirement: truck with 900 kg towing capacity
  • Deployment Requirement: truck with 900 kg towing capacity
  • Contact: The CSD Facility
Three photos of flat bottomed skiffs in use


The R/V Happy is a 20-foot (6m) pontoon boat with a moonpool cut in the floor. It provides a stable platform for most types of open-water coring at locations with a boat launch. It must be towed to its destination—it cannot be shipped.

  • Dimensions and Weight: Length: 5m Width: 2.5m Tower Height: 0m Weight: 400 kg, plus motor
  • Moonpool: Yes
  • Shipping Requirement: not possible, must be towed
  • Transportation Requirement: truck with 900 kg towing capacity
  • Deployment Requirement: boat launch
  • Contact: CSD Facility 
  • Accessories: Anchor Line, Anchors
Pontoon with researchers in it


The R/V KRKII is a large platform (~5.5m x 6m) consisting of two 19-foot (5.5m), 950-pound skiff boats bolted together with aluminum deck plates and beams. When disassembled it can be towed on a single trailer behind a heavy-duty truck or shipped in a standard 40-foot shipping container. It was engineered and purpose-built for Kullenberg coring, for which it provides a large, stable work surface, a 6.5m quad-leg tower, 5m long moonpool, and integrated hydraulic winch and capstan.

  • Dimensions and Weight: Length: 6m Width: 5m Tower Height: 6.5m Weight: 3,600 kg
  • Moonpool: Yes
  • Shipping Requirement: 40-foot intermodal container
  • Transportation Requirement: truck with 3,600 kg towing capacity plus 400 kg additional gear
  • Deployment Requirement: boat launch
  • Contact: CSD Facility
Research boat on a lake
Two images of a boat in the water and on a trailer

Deep Lakes Drilling System (DLDS) Damen Barge

The Deep Lakes Drilling System (DLDS) barge is a modular platform produced by Damen Shipyards, consisting of 6 joined segments.

Each of the segments has dimensions equal to a standard 40-foot intermodal shipping container, which allows transport via truck, rail, and ship, and assembly with a crane. Position is maintained by heavy anchors deployed from each corner of the platform. Owned by the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) and hosted by the CSD Facility, the DLDS barge is available for projects requiring deployment of a heavy drilling rig, mud works, and associated equipment on a floating platform.

  • Dimensions and Weight: Length: 24.4m Width: 7.3m Weight: 91,000 kg
  • Moonpool: Yes
  • Shipping Requirement: 7 x 40-foot intermodal containers
  • Transportation Requirement: Tractor-trailer with container chassis
  • Deployment Requirement: Solid shoreline with 1-2m water depth; 50-ton crane
  • Contact: Facility staff or ICDP
ICDP Damen Barge
Five people using the ICDP Damen Barge.
People working on the Damen Barge in the distance

Space Frame

The Space Frame platform is a modular platform with lightweight components, consisting of 44 floats, each 8 x 4 x 3 feet (length x width x height),196 pounds, and each offering a maximum buoyancy of 5130 pounds. The floats can be configured as needed for deployment requirements and assembled on site by hand, with structural beams and decking attached to the top.  

  • Dimensions and Weight (maximum configuration):  Length: 18.1m Width: 8.8m Weight: 7,700 kg
  • Shipping Requirement (maximum configuration): 3 x 20-foot intermodal containers + 4 x 40-foot intermodal containers 
  • Transportation Requirement: Hand carry
  • Deployment Requirement: clear shore access
  • Accessories: Shipping container
  • Contact: CSD Facility


Partially assembled lightweight modular platform

Platform Accessories

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Anchors and Anchor Lines

Danforth style aluminum alloy anchors have two possible fluke angles: 32o which provides good holding power in most lake floor conditions or 45o which provides increased holding power in soft/ muddy bottom conditions. These anchors are lightweight and can be disassembled easily for transport. Static anchor line with minimal stretch is best to keep the platform position as stable as possible. 

Danforth style aluminum alloy anchor, Researcher pulling an anchor line, and a bag for anchor line storage

Outboard Motors

  • 2 Suzuki DF20A 4 stroke, electronic fuel injected outboard motors
  • 1 Mercury 20hp 4 stroke outboard motor
  • 1 Minn Kota Riptide ST with 54-inch shaft and 24V (80-pound thrust) motor electric trolling motor with dynamic positioning