A tropical coral reef begins at the IUI station beach and a deep oceanic water body can be accessed from the Institute's 50-metre (m) pier. It only takes 10 minutes sailing on the research vessel (RV) to reach a water column depth of ~720m. Clear skies and a maximum wave amplitude of ~1m allow for optimal use of the boats and RV year-round.
The unique oceanographic conditions in the Gulf of Aqaba, such as stratification and deep mixing, deep water in a short distance from shore, high temperature of deep water, small volume basin that ensures a fast response to global change, etc, makes the area an ideal 'natural laboratory' to study oceanographic processes.
The research vessel is 15m long, 6m wide, with a draught of 1.4m, and has two engines capable of reaching a top speed of 16 knots. It is operated by three crew members and can hold 12 additional passengers.
A 10m2 air-conditioned lab with a hood is available on-board to handle initial processing of samples. A winch and crane are also available. The vessel has a water sampling carousel frame with sampling bottles, a multi-corer, piston corer, MOCNESS for plankton sampling with various net sizes, a CTD, and an ROV ECA H800 with real time full HD resolution and a 600m umbilical cable.
The Institute possesses two small boats, 8m long, capable of taking up to 10 divers. The boats are used to reach remote dive sites and for scientific work such as towing plankton nets, experiments with underwater tools and other observation activities.