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).
The first cruise report from the RRS James Cook

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?

Where is a cruise report kept?

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.

Those wishing to read physical copies please see the National Oceanographic Library's visitor access page.

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