No, This Boat Isn't Capsizing... What It's Really Doing Is Incredible

Boats are essential for science, being used to analyse oceans, the climate or marine life, and some of them are quite amazing.

An American research boat known as FLIP is unlike any other. One might think it is sinking but it is actually able to turn upright, and the majority of the boat looks more like a submarine.

When going into the vertical position almost 300 feet of its hull becomes submerged while only 55 feet remain up in the air. The result is impressive, and allows for very precise scientific analysis.

When moving from horizontal to vertical, FLIP must be adapted to life on both planes. Do you remember the movie Inception? The scene where the floor becomes the wall and vice versa? In this boat the same thing happens. A very simple example is that there are always two sinks, one horizontal and one vertical.

This boat/submarine has no engine, so it must be towed to the desired location. It then takes 30 minutes for the boat to ‘flip.’

FLIP was built in 1962, at a time when scientific progress was synonymous with power. ‘It was built in the decade when we were trying to reach the moon, so everyone was thinking big,’ says Robert Pinkel, professor emeritus at the University of California.

FLIP is used to measure acoustic signals, water temperature and density, and wave height, which all allow for meteorological data to be collected and to better understand the influence of the ocean on acoustics.

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