Old Japanese Vessel Turned Research Explorer Has an Inspiring Story

Explorer yachts are usually meant to take their wealthy owners on long, daring journeys to places that are far away. But some of them are converted vessels with a rich history behind them. That’s also the case of Sharkwater, a Japanese-born vessel that ended up having a noble mission.
Sharkwater was born as a Japanese whaling ship in Japan 6 photos
Photo: Boat International
Sharkwater Research VesselSharkwater Research VesselSharkwater Research VesselSharkwater Research VesselSharkwater was named in honor of the late Rob Stewart
In recent years, the trend of luxury explorer ships has constantly been growing – superyacht owners dream of reaching further and discovering more while onboard a comfortable and luxurious pleasure craft. It’s not uncommon for vessels that were previously meant for something else to be converted into explorers due to their size and performance.

Back in 1997, a ship called Senshu Maru was coming to life in Japan. The Niigata shipyard built the 134-foot (43 meters) steel vessel, which, according to Boat International, is among the top 30% of longest yachts in the world. It could accommodate ten guests and seven crew members, and its Niigata diesel engine allowed it to reach up to 13 knots (14.9 mph/24 kph) and cover distances of up to 7,600 nautical miles (8,745 miles/14,075 km).

Senshu Maru would start a new life in 2017 when it was acquired by the Fins Attached non-profit. It was renamed Sharkwater as a tribute to the late Canadian filmmaker Rob Stewart, known for the “Sharkwater” documentary. The old vessel’s new mission was to support scientists, marine science students, and documentary film crews, by taking them safely to remote locations.

Unlike other explorer yachts that are meant for pure fun and adventure, Sharkwater was using its capabilities to help sharks and the maritime environment in general. A former Japanese whaling vessel became an international explorer with a noble mission.

Team Sharkwater, a partner of Fins Attached in their mission to protect sharks, said that Rob Stewart had dreamt of “a vessel that would travel the world studying and protecting sharks.” And that’s what this ship did. But it looks like another chapter is about to begin. Sharkwater was recently sold for an undisclosed amount (the asking price was $2.4 million). The future destination is unknown, but its legacy will live on no matter what.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
Otilia Drăgan profile photo

Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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