First buoy laboratory [France]
Last updated: September 19, 2017 at 3:11 am
L’île flottante (floating island) was a 60 m (200 ft) anchored tube topped with a laboratory and living quarters which allowed researchers to stay at sea indefinitely. The laboratory buoy was conceived by Captain Jean Alinat and then developed and produced by Dr. Jacques Piccard and the Office français de recherches sous-marines (OFRS, France). L’île flottante was launched in 1964. Its crew had to be rescued by the Calypso after the buoy caught fire while anchored in deep water between Nice and Corsica in 1965. The buoy was repaired, and then served for a further 8 years. An earlier floating laboratory from the USA, the R/P FLIP (1962), could be towed and docked in a horizontal position and was thus considered a floating platform. L’île flottante was also known as l’Île mystérieuse.
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Jeffrey Gallant is the Editor-in-Chief and Records Keeper of the Diving Almanac. He is also a contributing editor of DIVER Magazine, and the scientific director of the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group (GEERG). Jeffrey started diving in 1982.