The Maggi Sue will be the nation’s most technologically advanced freshwater research vessel, and the crown jewel of Great Lakes scientific exploration and advancement.

Cutting-Edge Design | Built for the Great Lakes | Science in Action


This next-generation research vessel will allow the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences and partners to acquire crucial data that will improve understanding of society’s impact on the Great Lakes, leading to healthier, safer waters for residents of the Great Lakes region.

The Maggi Sue’s superior capabilities will allow scientists, students and partners to conduct research leading to a fuller understanding of North America’s unique inland seas.

R/V Maggi Sue will be the most advanced research platform on the Great Lakes; a floating laboratory with the same instrumentation and technologies deployed in the best oceanic research. The science that will take place aboard the vessel will dramatically improve our ability to explore, understand, and manage the world’s most valuable freshwater resource.



Imagine the possibilities:

  • Better data and improved models to inform decision-making and management around nutrient runoff, harmful algal blooms, and “dead zones.”
  • Sophisticated mapping of the lake bottom, helping to identify crucial habitat and long-lost shipwrecks.
  • Tools to chart changing food webs under threat from invasive species, helping us to mitigate impacts contributing to loss of biodiversity and declining fisheries.
  • Instruments capable of detecting harmful substances of growing concern, such as PFAS, pharmaceuticals and emerging contaminants, mercury, and low-level arsenic.
  • Sophisticated models at the intersection of atmospheric sciences, climate change, and watershed management, including predictive models focused on lake levels and coastal resilience.
  • Much more complete datasets that don’t go dark in winter. Winter data for the Great Lakes is rare and represents a “dark” period in nearly all data sets, despite being critical to understanding climate change and other impacts on the lakes.
  • A high-tech classroom to visualize data, resulting in better learning outcomes for students and future scientists

Advancing Great Lakes science like never before…

Technical Specs

  • Weight: 200 tons Length: 120 feet Capacity: 24 Sleeps: 18

Download the case brochure


The total cost to launch the research vessel Maggi Sue is anticipated to be $20 million, including $15 million for construction and $5 million for an operational endowment that will cover approximately one third of its annual operating costs. By launching this new research vessel for the Great Lakes, we will significantly increase the region’s capability to understand our water resources and to invest in their protection and management for future generations.

For more details on R/V Maggi Sue and its capabilities, please download the Great Lakes Research Vessel case statement. For information on how you can become a donor and support the launch of R/V Maggi Sue, contact Assistant Dean for Advancement Eric Leaf.