Our Research Vessels

Desmond Valdes

Donated by the Valdes family in 2009, this Grady White 232 is LAMP’s primary duty vessel. From survey to diving we have used this boat inshore and offshore and its greatest discovery was in locating, target testing, and finding the Storm Wreck site. LAMP archaeologists were also diving from the Desmond Valdes when the ship’s bell and cannon were found on this highly interesting wreck from the period of the American Revolution.





Propulsion-Johnson 140hp (x2)

Fuel Capacity-150 gallons in twin tanks (54/96) (gasoline)

Navigation-magnetic compass, Garmin chartplotter, Garmin echosounder

Survey Ability-sidescan sonar, magnetometer, subbottom profiler

Communications-Marine VHF (x1), shipboard cellphone

Safety Equipment-Vessel capacity is 10 adults and is equipped with 10 Type I PDF, 1 USCG approved throwable life ring with tether, flares, emergency oxygen kit, 1st aid kit, forward bilge pump, after bilge pump, auxiliary high water pump, 3 B1 fire extinguishers, whistle, hand mirror

Diving Equipment-SCUBA tank racks (cap. 12+berthing stowage), surface supply air, 9hp+5hp induction dredge water pumps, heavy duty dive ladder



Since 2009 LAMP has partnered with the Institute of Maritime History to use their primary research vessel. Built by William Holden in 1990 in New Bern, North Carolina, Roper was originally based on lines for a 40’ trawling vessel designed by Charles Wittholz. As built, she is 36’ in length and was shortened from her original lines and constructed with heavier steel plate. After a short career fishing the waters of North
Carolina in the commercial shrimp fishery, she was sold to an interest in Galveston, Texas to serve as light duty cargo. For a brief period her regular route was to the Caribbean, delivering diesel engines. In 1999 Roper was moved to southern Maryland, where she is now home-ported to act as the primary research vessel
for the Institute of Maritime History. Since then, she has operated from New Jersey to Florida as survey vessel, dive support vessel, and continues to serve as an ambassador for public archaeology. Projects of note which Roper has supported include:



SHIP Project- an ongoing and extensive inventory of submerged resources in the Chesapeake and

Delaware Bays.

First Coast Maritime Archaeology Project- a multi-year project to search for shipwrecks in Northeast

Florida and continue excavations on the Storm Wreck, an Revolutionary War period shipwreck in St. Augustine, Florida

The Federalist Project-a collaborative project with George Washington’s Mt. Vernon to search for a

miniature ship lost in the Potomac River in 1788.

Search for Ft. Elfsborg-A project looking for a 1638 Dutch fort believed to have eroded into the

Delaware River.

Three Warships Project – A project to look for three warships destroyed in the British occupation of Philadelphia in 1777.



Roper’s namesake is the USS Roper (DD-147), a Wickes Class destroyer commissioned in 1919. While a little too late to see action during WWI, she served under various commands, including part of the last China sailors in Hong Kong and Chefoo. During  WWII Roper served with distinction and was the first ship of the United States Navy to sink a German U-boat. Her commander, Cdr. Hamilton Wilcox Howe, is a distant cousin of the modern Roper’s owner, David Porter Howe, Cdr. USN (Ret.) The vessel is equipped for medium range cruising, marine survey, archaeological diving, and light salvage.


Hold space includes storage for salvage/towing gear, power generation space, reserve fuel and water, and reserve cargo space. Dual station computer monitors allow heads-up navigation with simultaneous survey monitoring or other software use. Roper is documented for Coastwise Unrestricted, Fishery, and Recreational.





Draft- 5’

Documented #- 967078

Call Sign-WCZ5097

Propulsion- Caterpillar 3208NA (210shp)

Power Generation-8kw Kohler genset, 1500w DC/AC inverter on house bank

Fuel Capacity-400 gallons (diesel)

Water Capacity-35 gallons (+50 gallon deck tank)

Cruising Speed-6.6kts

Range- 900nm

Navigation- shipboard computer running Maptech software (primary), Furuno GP32 GPS/WAAS receiver/plotter (secondary), Humminbird 998C (secondary backup)

Communications-marine VHF (x2), shipboard cellphone, WiFi antenna

Safety Equipment- 17 adult Type I PDF life jackets and 3 children Type I PDF, 1 USCG approved throwable life ring, heaving line, marine pyrotechnics, emergency oxygen kit, 1st aid kit (x2), 2” dewatering pump, 3 B1 fire extinguishers, smoke detector/CO detector in berthing, whistle, emergency 5 gallon fresh water, 10 gallons emergency fuel.

House Accommodations-berthing for 4 (port/starboard watchkeeping), full galley, limited refrigeration, WiFi ready

Survey Ability-Humminbird 998C sidescan, Klein 3900 Search and Recovery sidescan sonar, Marine Magnetics SeaSpy Explorer Overhauser magnetometer, Hypack Navigational Software

Deck Equipment-primary lifting davit with electric hoist (3500# rating), light duty davit (200# rating), lift bags equaling 1000# effort, cutting/burning/welding tools, 11.8cfm gasoline powered air compressor, 9hp 250gpm water pump

Diving Equipment- Onboard dive locker supported by 20 Al80 tanks, Bauer compressor, aux. lift bags, air powered cutting and grinding tools



Built in 1968, this Boston Whaler 13’ tender was originally the sail training instructor boat for the College of William & Mary in Virginia. She served in this capacity until 2004 when purchased by Brendan Burke and Chuck Meide. After a significant restoration and taking on the name Indefatigable, named after the 1784 British Ardent class 64-gun third-rate ship-of-the-line. The original Indefatigable served valiantly against the French during the Napoleonic wars, capturing numerous prizes and driving the much larger and more powerful Droits de l’Homme onto shore in an action off the Penmarcks. HMS Indefatigable is most known for its role in the serialized
exploits of Horatio Hornblower. LAMP’s ‘Indy’, as she is known, has subsequently earned the reputation of her namesake. On survey in the Chesapeake, or working offshore in the Atlantic, this little craft has performed admirably and without fail. During diving operations to target test anomalies in Salt Run, prior to dredging, Indy served as the support platform and routinely dived two teams on a daily basis. Aside from official duties, she has made several rescues and served as towing vessel for stricken vessels. Indy serves as LAMP’s quick-deploy vessel and is maintained on constant standby. She was most recently refitted in the spring of 2011.





Propulsion-Evinrude 20hp

Fuel Capacity-12 gallons

Cruising Speed-15kts

Range- 10-40nm

Navigation-Lowrance iFinder H2Oc WAAS-enabled GPS

Communications-handheld marine VHF

Safety Equipment-4 Type I PDF, 1 approved throw-able, whistle, compressed air whistle, sidelights and all-around white light, B1 fire extinguisher



This vessel is the most recent addition to our fleet and is awaiting a refit. The Nonsuch was built in 1988 by Monark, a manufacturer of industrial grade aluminum boats. She was commissioned by the US Coast Guard as a TANB-21 (Trailerable Aids to Navigation Boat, 21’) and used up through 2009. Decommissioned after her last duty station at CG Station Yankeetown, LAMP took ownership of the boat in 2011.

The name Nonsuch was chosen for a privateer that raided Florida’s coast in 1812. Built in Baltimore in 1810 as one of the infamous Baltimore ‘Clippers’, she was commissioned with a letter of marque in June of 1812 when war broke out with England. Sailing down the Chesapeake bay with a flotilla of other famous privateers such as the Rossie, High Flyer, and Chasseur, she turned south at the Virginia Capes and sailed straight for Florida. Acting in consort with Georgia Rebels, who sought to capture Florida from the Spanish, the Nonsuch and her escort, the Hawk, prowled Spanish waters. While their letters of marque prevented them from seizing Spanish shipping it did not stop them from detaining and harassing ships coming and going from St. Augustine. Nonsuch, much to the dismay and frustration of the Spanish colonial governor, stoppered up St. Augustine, even raiding the city’s frigate Pizarro. Later, during the War of 1812, she was taken into service as the USS Nonsuch and successfully fended off a much heavier British force in the Caribbean. After the war, she served to explore the timber resources of the Gulf Coast. In 1819 Nonsuch had the ignominious duty of serving as the final command for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. Famous for his role in the Battle of Lake Erie and having coined the phrase “Never Give Up the Ship!” Commodore Perry gave up his life to yellow fever after having led a diplomatic envoy to Venezuela. Nonsuch would go on into history to fight pirates in the Caribbean and she survived until 1928, when sunk for the third and final time by the Okeechobee Hurricane in St. Croix.

Nonsuch is currently not in service and awaiting engine replacement and fitting out. It is our goal to put her into service as a dredging and diving platform given her durable construction and metal decking. If you would like to help put Nonsuch into service, please contact us at 904-829-0745 and ask for Brendan. Help us carry this historic name on and never give up the ship!





Propulsion-Honda BF130 (x2)

Fuel Capacity-60 gallons

Cruising Speed-25kts

Communications-marine VHF

Safety Equipment-6 Type I PDF, 1 approved throw-able, whistle, compressed air whistle, marine pyrotechnics, sidelights and all-around white light, B1 fire extinguisher


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All text and images, unless otherwise noted, are copyright Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, Inc. We extend permission to scholars, students, and other interested members of the public to use images and to quote from text for non-commercial educational or research purposes, provided LAMP is acknowledged and credited. If there are any questions regarding the use of LAMP’s work, please inquire at LAMP@staugustinelighthouse.org.

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