The motor vessel Roper is operated by the Institute of Maritime History, a non-profit organization dedicated to maritime history and underwater archaeology. Roper is a steel 36-foot trawler. She was originally built for shrimping in the Carolina sounds and has been converted for diving, archaeological research, and light salvage. She is federally documented (official number 967078, 17 gross tons, 13 net) for coastwise trade, foreign trade, fishery, and pleasure. She is fitted with a Caterpillar 3208 diesel engine and a 360-gallon fuel tank for a range of approximately 1,200 miles at a cruising speed of 6.5 knots. She can work four surface-supplied divers or up to 12 scuba divers.
Over the past 16 years she has steamed more than 50,000 miles for IMH, salvaged seven sunken vessels, and surveyed more than 100 underwater sites dating from the 17th through 20th centuries and located between Philadelphia and Cape Canaveral. She also services the U-1105 historic shipwreck preserve, a German Type VII-C/41 U-boat that was sunk in the Potomac in a post-war weapon test.
She carries a full suite of navigational and search instruments and other equipment, including -
Institute Of Maritime History
all USCG-required safety gear,
redundant WAAS DGPS units,
navigational and survey computers,
anchors and rodes for 3-point mooring,
towing line and bridle,
towed and hull-mounted sidescan sonars,
handheld underwater metal detectors,
dive platform and ladder,
dive gear and 32 SCUBA tanks,
electric SCUBA compressor,
underwater survey gear,
2,000 lbs of lift bags,
1.5-ton davit for lifting and recovery,
300-pound davit for towfish,
12-foot skiff with outboard motor,
gasoline-powered trash pump,
air compressor and pneumatic tools,
8kW 120/240-volt diesel generator,
arc welder, hand and power tools, etc.