A cruise report is a document written mainly by the Principle Scientist that details what happened on an expedition; the equipment used, the time and date it was deployed and the data it collected. Technicians can contribute information about specific pieces of equipment as well. It generally contains the hypothesis, results and conclusions the scientist has drawn, as well as their future plans.
NERC funded scientists must produce a cruise summary report within seven days and a full report within 6 months after the end of the cruise. A copy of the cruise report is also given to the costal state where the research took place. This not just as a common courtesy but is required by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Who uses cruise reports?
- Academics for research, for their own cruise-planning purposes, to validate models etc.
- School teachers and students for specific projects or just to practise data analysis on.
- The general public for private interest, including water-sports enthusiasts.
- Commercial users conducting a survey of a particular area for a client, e.g. for a pipeline.
- Genealogists, people carrying out family history research. Older reports may be used to find out if a relative was on board the ship as either scientific staff or a member of the ship’s crew.
Why are cruise reports important?
Cruise reports are original detailed sources of information, making them very important documents. The National Oceanographic Library produces collections of cruise reports for users to study. Read more about the National Oceanographic Library's role →
Where is a cruise report kept?
At the end of a cruise a copy of all the data collected is given to the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC). The centre is responsible for documenting, storing and distributing marine data. Read more about the cruise information BODC holds →
How can I access cruise reports?
There are a number of repositories for cruise information: they all contain, or link to, the same type of data i.e. the actual cruise reports, but are targeted for different searches.
- Specific cruise report - the BODC Cruise Inventory contains UK and UK funded research cruises.
- Report list - the Marine Facilities Planning website contains National Marine Facilities Sea Systems supported cruises, including links to cruise summaries and reports.
- Catalogue search - the University of Southampton's ePrints collection has cruise reports from NOC operated ships from the Centre's beginning to the present day. Plus all the other research carried out by the University's scientists.
Those wishing to read physical copies please see the National Oceanographic Library's visitor access page.