More about our research vessel, SV Achiever

Photo by Alex Harris / Raincoast Cosnervation Foundation.

Raincoast Conservation Foundation acquired Achiever as a platform for our 10,000nm marine surveys studying the abundance and distribution of marine mammals and birds. The vessel was utilized for five years during all four seasons running transect lines from the BC/Alaska border to the Juan de Fuca BC/WA border in the Salish Sea, and the countless inlets and fjords of BC’s central and north coast. The vessel proved to be an excellent platform for this rugged and grueling work.


Achiever is a 68’ steel sailboat, carrying Transport Canada passenger certification. Achiever was built in 1989 from the designs of Beau Birdsall, a New Zealand yacht designer. It worked as a research vessel in the Aleutian Islands before coming to BC. Bought in 2003 through the donations of Raincoast supporters, Achiever went through an 18-month refit to suit the requirements for remote work throughout BC’s coastal waters. In addition to our own work, Achiever has worked for almost 20 years supporting Canadian and BC-based research institutions, youth education trips with schools and Indigenous Nations, as well as film and media trips for National Geographic, NHK, ARD and Canadian Geographic. 


Achiever’s ability to access remote regions of the BC coast are equally matched by its capability of comfortably accommodating researchers with their equipment in the field. The wheelhouse has table space that can be utilized for lab and computer work. It carries an auxiliary generator with large battery capacity allowing for 110VAC supply to all outlets throughout the vessel. Gear can easily be stowed in the capacious lazarette. There is a drying room for wet gear when out in the elements. Achiever’s deck space allows for larger items to be lashed to the deck for safe keeping.

On board, Achiever can host up to 10 overnight guests or 12 passengers for day trips. With ample room for sitting and gathering indoors, an apartment sized fridge and large deep freeze, 4 burner stove and BBQ. Achiever has hosted countless groups, united teams, inspired youth and facilitated important coastal research. Achiever’s versatility has proven it a successful research vessel reaching remote areas of the coast for extended periods of time. The ability to be fully self-sufficient for long-range journeys allows for a more affordable option compared to day boats and larger research ships.

To enquire more about possibilities and rates within the marine environment of British Columbia, contact Raincoast’s Marine Operations Coordinator.


  • Transport Canada Certified Passenger Vessel
  • Transport Canada Certified Crew (Captain & Mate)
  • Cook aboard for dietary sustenance
  • Ability to carry up to 10 guests overnight, and 12 on a day trip
  • Length 21m (68’)
  • Beam 4.3m (14’)
  • Draft 2.0m (6.5’)
  • Gross Tonnage 21.89
  • Mast Height 21m (70’) 
  • Fuel Capacity 3,500lt (range roughly 2,500 nautical miles)
  • Water Capacity 2,800lt
  • Single screw 175bhp marine diesel engine
  • 6kW auxiliary genset for 110VAC
  • Cruising speed 8 knots
  • Tows 16’ inflatable RHIB with a 60hp engine
  • Hull Type: Steel
  • Sloop Rig Sailing Vessel

Navigational Equipment

  • Radar x2
  • Depth Sounder x2
  • GPS x2
  • VHF Radios x2 (1 DSC)
  • Hand Held VHF Radios x2
  • Inflatable PFDs for guests x14
  • Life jackets for entire complement
  • SOLAS approved life raft 16 passenger offshore rated

Research/Science Equipment 

  • Observation platform
  • Davit system for small equipment 
  • Plankton tow system 
  • Deep water column tow system 
  • Spill Response science kits


  • 2 private aft cabins (2 double berths sleeps 4)
  • Dormitory style main cabin (bunk beds sleeps 4)
  • Wheelhouse tables break down for extra sleeping arrangements (sleeps 2)
  • Crew accommodation


  • Fully equipped galley with chef upon request
  • Large wheel house with tables for research equipment
  • 2 marine heads (1 shower)
  • Large lazarette for gear storage
  • 5.5 cubic foot freezer for sample storage
  • 6.5’ head room