heron lens picture
C.S.L. Heron

 CSL Heron is a state-of-the-art 34ft hydrographic/geophysical/oceanographic survey launch. The Heron is owned by the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) and is currently on a 10 year loan to the Ocean Mapping Group at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). The loan is part of a Joint Partnering Agreement between the CHS and UNB. Heron is provided for the purposes of conducting Ocean Mapping related research and training.

Originally built in 1983, the Heron was professionally rebuilt and outfitted to modern standards over the winter of 2001-2002 by the gentlemen of the various technical services at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. She is equipped with a unique suite of acoustic survey instruments funded through the Canadian Foundation of Innovation, Kongsberg Simrad and ACOA. She is currently being used in support of a series of collaborative research projects along the Fundy Coast of New Brunswick. She will play a role in the Canadian Arctic aboard the CCGS Amundsen as part of the Arctic Net program .

Heron picture

Physical Dimension and Main Equipment

CSL Heron was built in 1983 by C&C Boatyard in Ontario based on a Nelson hull. She was was one of the first two boats (Heron and Hagdon) of the H Class, that became the mainstay of CHS single-beam launch operations in the 1980's. The original 2 boats looked significantly different at first, with a large open cockpit and a Z-drive. Based on early trials, the current superstructure configuration was decided upon and these hulls were modified to have the current larger cabin and direct-drive shaft..

All subsequent H-Boats (a second batch were delivered in ~ 1988) were of this configuration. The Heron and Hagdon were unique in that they had Caterpillar rather than Volvo propulsion and that they had a single-support skeg mounted rudder rather than the V-skeg of the later builds. The V skegs (adopted also on the newer P-boats), are more resistant to grounding (as they are not coupled to the prop-shaft) but are far worse for maneouvering.

The Heron operated as single beam survey launch atttached to CSS Baffin (100m Arctic survey vessel) for operations in the Arctic and on the Grand Banks during the 1980's. In 1989, CSS Baffin was retired and Heron was put in storage. In 1994 her engine was rebuilt for use as a demonstration boat for the  multibeam courses in St. Andrew's in 1994/5/6. After that she was mothballed for a further 5 years, before being remobilised for this project in the fall of  2001.

Over the winter of 2005/2006 the Heron was stripped down to fibreglass and completely rebuilt at Grand Manan Boats Ltd. in Grand Manan. There was a complete replacement of all electronics (24V and 120V) aboard. A new engine and generator were purchased and installed. New AC and DC wiring was run. Hull damage was repaired. The sound proofing, headliner, and desk were replaced. A 6 ft shock mounted server rack was installed. The navigation system was upgraded to a Furuno Nav Station vx2 black box unit with sounder, WAAS enabled GPS, digital radar, and heading sensor.

heron overview
10.0 m (34 ft)
1.15m (0.85 m at EM3000 transducer face)
15,000 lbs (including full payload)
Volvo TAMD63P, 360 HP turbo charged diesel (keel cooled)
Operating Speed
16 knots cruising at 2500 rpm, 8 knots at 1800 rpm.
AC Power
Kohler 5KW generator - with UPS
DC Power
24 Volt with inverter to 12 Volts
Furuno NavNet vx2 1834 CBB, 24" Radome, 4 kW, 3.9 deg., 34 n.m. range
VHF radio
Stand-alone positioning
Furuno NavNet vx2 BBWGPS WAAS enabled GPS
Navigation sounder
Furuno NavNet vx2 BBFF1 Network sounder (50/200 kHz) 600 W.

CSL Heron was professionally rebuilt and custom-outfitted by the uniquely skilled personnel at BIO including:

The original idea to reincarnate one of the H-boats was the beery eyed result of brainstorming by:
at FEMME 2001  in Victoria (February).

She was revived again over the winter of 2005/2006 following a mishap in Quebec City that saw her at the bottom of the Saint Lawrence for 3 days. Thanks go to: