SV Achiever: 20 years of research, conservation, and outreach

A timeline of everything our research vessel has achieved over the last 20 years.

1989: Achiever was built in New Zealand and worked in the Arctic supporting wildlife conservation.

2003: Raincoast purchases Achiever and begins sea lice research, wolf research, and a scoping expedition with National Geographic for the documentary film, Last Stand of the Great Bear. 

2004: Achiever embarks on five years of Raincoast’s seminal coast wide marine surveys for mammals and birds.

2005: Led by captain Brian Falconer, Achiever refit begins – a massive project and a small miracle. Raincoast charters Gwaii Haanas for continuing marine mammal surveys.

2006: After an 18 month refit, Achiever is relaunched in July. The boat heads north to the Koeye River for the opening of the Big House and youth camp, and then on to continuing marine mammal surveys and monitoring our first commercial hunting tenure.

2006: Achiever assists with BBC’s Planet Earth documentary.

2007 – 2008: Achiever supports BBC’s Earth’s Great Events documentary and their episode the Great Salmon Run.

2009 – 2010: Achiever supports NHK (Japan’s national public broadcaster) to film documentaries on humpback whales and coastal wolves. 

2009: Achiever chartered by Fisheries and Oceans Canada for ongoing cetacean surveys focussed on endangered fin whales.

2010: Achiever begins joint study with the Institute of Ocean Sciences to understand currents using bottles and drift card drops. 

2012: Achiever hits the waves on the Groundswell film project with Patagonia, uniting conservationists, surfers, and communities opposing the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project.

2013: Achiever is the backbone of the Art for an Oil free Coast expedition that brought 50 artists to the Great Bear Rainforest to draw attention to the Northern Gateway project. National and international outreach included a film, book, art shows, and events.

2016: Raincoast establishes Salish Sea Emerging Stewards Program, expanding our at-sea youth education expeditions with local Indigenous communities.

2016: Achiever marks ten years of service and undergoes major refit led by captain Nick Sinclair.

2020: Drew Grav-Graham joins Raincoast as Marine Operations manager and Achiever captain, expanding an amazing crew complement and beginning seabird surveys with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

2022: Overhaul of the onboard water storage/desalination system to expand Achiever’s trip range.

2023: Achiever hosts Raincoast’s first season of whale photogrammetry research with the Cetacean Conservation Research program. 

2006-2023: Achiever monitors our five commercial hunting tenures that protect large carnivores.

2024: We are planning Achiever’s 20 year refit to make it quieter and more energy efficient.

This is an excerpt from our annual report, Tracking Raincoast into 2024.

Tracking Raincoast into 2024, annual report, cover and inside pages.

Our annual report is out now!

Get highlights from the year, our science, flagship projects, staff and volunteers, as well as a peek at what’s in store for the coming year.

Research scientist, Adam Warner conducting genetics research in our genetics lab.
Photo by Alex Harris / Raincoast Conservation Foundation.