Paul Meltzer, a Santa Cruz attorney, has donated his 46-foot Hatteras sport fishing yacht to CSU Monterey Bay for use in the university’s marine science program.
The boat will be renamed “Harold Heath” in honor of his great-grandfather, a marine scientist who was a Stanford University professor for nearly 40 years and led research at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove. Dr. Heath and his family lived across the street from the Marine Station campus.
The vessel will be used by CSUMB’s Seafloor Mapping Lab, where it will support marine research, training and education. It will also be used to support remotely operated vehicles and habitat survey work done by the university's Institute for Applied Marine Ecology.
“The Harold Heath will allow us to take the Seafloor Mapping Lab to a new level of performance and service,” said Dr. Rikk Kvitek, a professor in the Division of Science and Environmental Policy and director of the Seafloor Mapping Lab. The lab conducts marine habitat survey work and has been instrumental in the ongoing California Seafloor Mapping Project, an effort to create the first comprehensive, high-resolution map of California's state waters – from the shoreline out three nautical miles. The project involves industry, resource management agencies and universities. Final products will include a series of maps showing the seafloor and coastal geology in unprecedented detail.
One of the first uses of the Harold Heath will be to map the last remaining section of state waters, along the southern Big Sur coast. “Because of the remote nature of this part of the coast, the work will require that we spend four or five days at a time at sea,” Dr. Kvitek said. “The Hatteras is very well equipped, in excellent condition and is ideally suited for this work.”
It’s that kind of useful research that inspired Mr. Meltzer, an avid deep sea fisherman, to make the gift.
“The university is conducting interesting and important marine research that will be immediately useful. This is exactly the kind of research project that would have fascinated my great-grandfather. My father was a commercial fisherman and he would have also been thrilled to see a detailed map of the sea floor,” Mr. Meltzer said.
Dr. Heath was involved in coastal marine survey research off the coast of California, Alaska, Mexico, Japan and Brazil. He was one of the first professors at Stanford University, where he joined the Department of Zoology in 1894. He spent most of his scientific life at the Palo Alto campus and at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station. He first taught at the Pacific Grove facility in the summer of 1895. Dr. Heath retired in 1933, but continued his research at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History. He died in 1951. In a memorial tribute, his Stanford colleagues described him as “kindly, quizzical and inspiring.”
The Harold Heath will be berthed along the Coast Guard pier in the Monterey harbor. “We will begin outfitting the boat to support seafloor mapping, diving, remotely operated vehicles and video tow-sled surveys right away,” Dr. Kvitek said.
To read about CSUMB's new degree program in marine science, click here.
To learn more about the Seafloor Mapping Lab at CSUMB, click here.