2006 Live Dive from the Frank A. Palmer

On Saturday 15 July 2006, the sanctuary and the National Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut (NURC-UConn) conducted two 30 minute live broadcasts from the shipwreck of the coal schooner Frank A. Palmer. Viewers at the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center in Gloucester, MA, the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, MI and over the World Wide Web watched live underwater video and asked the research team questions as they investigated the wreck.
  Locked in Time Flyer

Over 1000 people watched the broadcast, which was supported by NURC-UConn, the University of Connecticut, Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, the City of Gloucester, NOAA's Preserve America Initiative, NOAA's Maritime Heritage Program, NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve, and VBrick Systems.

R/V Connecticut
R/V Connecticut outfitted with wireless
radios and an antenna for
the live broadcast.


The NURC-UConn ROV carried an underwater video camera that transmitted video back to the research vessel Connecticut, operated by the University of Connecticut. Onboard the vessel the video was then encoded and sent to an on board radio transmitter. The transmitter then beamed the video signal more than 20 miles to a receiver on shore in Massachusetts, and from there to a live audience in Gloucester, Massachusetts at the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center and to an Internet Services Provider, which then streamed the video in real time over the web. In addition to video from the ROV, researchers simultaneously displayed a multimedia PowerPoint presentation to enrich the online viewing experience.

The broadcast was part of a larger 7-day maritime heritage ROV cruise which returned to shipwrecks like the steamship Portland as well as investigating several new shipwrecks sites.

Click here to learn more about the 2006 Maritime Heritage ROV cruise

In December 1902, the Frank A. Palmer and Louise B. Crary collided in Massachusetts Bay and sank in over 300 feet of water. Eleven sailors perished as a result of the event. Today, the schooners sit upright on the seafloor touching at their bows in the same orientation in which they came together.


This project supports NOAA's research, scientific, and educational missions in a number of ways. The live broadcast gathered data to better understand, conserve, and manage the Frank A. Palmer and Louise B. Crary and interpreted these maritime heritage resources in a new and engaging manner. The sanctuary is meeting its mandate from the National Marine Sanctuaries Act and the National Historic Preservation Act to inventory, assess, protect, and interpret its archaeological resources. The continued study and interpretation of these resources will help scientists protect, restore, and manage the compatible uses of the world's waterways. The heritage resources have been a starting point for fostering increased interest and recognition for all the sanctuary's resources.

Sanctuary maritime archaeologists
director of NURC-UConn

Sanctuary maritime archaeologists Deborah Marx and Matthew Lawrence (left) were joined by Ivar Babb (right), director of NURC-UConn, who provided commentary on the technology that made the broadcast possible and the marine life observed on the shipwreck. Additional NURC-UConn project personnel behind the camera included IT technician Kevin Joy, IT technician Mike McKee, and ROV pilot Craig Bussel. NOAA Hollings scholar Freshteh Ahmadian-tehrani also joined the cruise and provided ROV support.

Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center
Over 100 viewers at the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center in Gloucester, MA watched the live broadcast in near DVD quality video.

SBNMS press release for the broadcast can be found at: News Releases - Live Broadcast

VBrick press releases for the broadcast can be found at here

Media for the live broadcast included posstings on over 30 websites and an Associates Press (AP) article "Shipwreck exploration Webcast lets anyone take part." Additional articles included: Boston Globe (cover of Saturday's City & Region section 15 July 2006) "Robots to give Web users close look at shipwrecks -- Underwater archeologists are searching Mass. Bay", Gloucester Daily Times (cover story 14 July 2006) "Armchair adventurers can ride along as robot sub explores historic wrecks", The Day (New London 13 July 2006) "Research Vessel To Send Live Undersea Broadcast of Wreck", Cape Cod Times (cover story 3 July 2006 ) "Shipwrecks Live, Online", and Maine Costal News (15-30 June 2006) "Live Broadcast of Historic Shipwrecks from the Stellwagen Bank 15 July".


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