People on the deck of a ship work to lower an rov into the water
The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Hela is lowered into the water to begin an inspection of the Portland shipwreck. Photo: Anne Smrcina/NOAA

Current Expeditions

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary research expeditions may involve a number of partners and support interdisciplinary aspects of research, monitoring, and outreach efforts. Watch for updates here. There are no expeditions at this time.

Expedition Archives

Expedition to Portland and a mystery collier with WHOI (2019 and 2020)

2020 marked the second year of a two-year project to explore sanctuary shipwrecks, to document the sites, and to study the marine life communities that colonize these structures. The sanctuary teamed up with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and Marine Imaging Technologies to offer live ship-to-shore broadcasts to give students and the public rare behind-the-scenes looks at an oceanographic research expedition in action. Of particular interest to sanctuary researchers were the wrecks of the coastal steamship Portland, the "Titanic of New England," and an unidentified coal schooner. New technologies allow for high definition video and 3-D digital mapping, which provides baseline data to evaluate changes to the wreck over time. Identification and documentation of the unknown wreck supports sanctuary maritime heritage goals.

cups scattered in the debris of a shipwreck
Cups sit among debris amidship where the galley was once located. Photo: WHOI/MITech/NOAA
plates piled up in the debris of a shipwreck
A warming table and plates were likely located in the ladies lounge in the stern of the ship. Photo: WHOI/MITech/NOAA
sidescan of Portland
Side scan images of shipwrecks show present condition and allow for upcoming mission planning. This side scan shows a school of fish around the wreck. Photo: NOAA/Applied Signal Technologies
3D model of Portland
Advances in technology allow specialists to make a digital 3D model from video and still images. This image shows a large amount of fishing gear draped along the starboard side of the wreck.

Additional Expedition Details