R/V Elekha

The Launch of the Elakha

R/V ELAKHA was selected as the name for OSU's new research vessel because of the sea otter's ecological significance to the U.S. West Coast. Scientific investigations of otters have contributed significantly to our understanding of nearshore coastal ecosystems. The name brings to mind the extinction of the elakha in Oregon's coastal waters, but gives hope that the R/V ELAKHA will be used for research that will help to promote intact, healthy ecosystems. The Elakha Alliance was formed by a member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz to help further this objective.

The R/V ELAKHA is Oregon State University's first new research vessel in over 25 years. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, through a grant to OSU for the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), provided a large amount of the funds for construction of the R/V ELAKHA. Additional contributions were made by the OSU Research Office and the University's College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences (COAS). The R/V ELAKHA was dedicated on 31 August 2000 at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon.


The R/V ELAKHA is a 54-foot research vessel, powered by a 600-horsepower diesel engine. Its range is 575 miles, and its maximum endurance is 72 hours. Scientific capabilities include a 2,000- pound-capacity A-frame and winch, and a flow-through water sampling system. The boat has a small laboratory area, berthing for four, and a galley. The R/V ELAKHA is operated and maintained by COAS. Visit the COAS website to learn more about the R/V ELAKHA.

The name "Elakha"

The name "elakha" honors Oregon's Native American heritage. Elakha (e-lak'ha) means sea otter in the Chinook jargon. This language was originally used in the Pacific Northwest by diverse inter-tribal groups as a common language for trading and basic communication. As a language common to most, if not all Northwest tribes, Chinook jargon is the most appropriate, inclusive, and representative tribal language.


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