Rebuild the Heraclitus Ship Crowdfunding Campaign

Continuing our Critical Ocean Research

Campaign Overview

The most unique sailing vessel for planetary and cultural studies ever built.

The renowned Research Vessel Heraclitus was built by the Institute of Ecotechnics (USA)* in 1975. She has had incredible voyages that have raised standards for oceanic expeditions over the past 40+ years. The ship has sailed globally reaching over 270,000 nautical miles in every sea in the world, except the Arctic. This includes 3,700 km up the Amazon River. 

Once the ship is back to sea, the Ecotechnic team are dedicating the ship as a platform for critical ocean research in an effort to report on and help mitigate the climate crisis. 

The current raise of $175,000 in funds will help us to sealing the ship and get it back into the water. 

*The heraclitus is owned and operated by Ecotechnics Maritime U.K.


The Research Vessel Heraclitus is dry-docked in Roses, Spain launching in May 2024.

Over the last decade, the Heraclitus has had its hull  completely rebuilt down to the keel (the bottom of the boat) after its 40+ years of expeditions. The interior, exterior, and mechanics have been completely upgraded to maintain its durability, dexterity, and improve its tools for research performance.

During the Covid pandemic, building was halted due to lessened ability to work and lack of materials.

The Last Phase of the Rebuild:

The new ferrocement hull has been rebuilt and we are now almost to the finish line! We are only needing $175,00 that will be applied to sealing  the Heraclitus.

With these minimal funds, the ocean will be sealed and waterproof once more.  Upon completion, it will be able to go onto its next ventures in Colombia: Cartagena, Santa Marta, Baranquilla and navigating the Magdalena River.

All donations received are tax deductible.

Contact for questions

Our Ask

We are seeking contributions in the form of:

  1. Financial donations
  2. Committed and skilled volunteers who would like to join us on our expeditions
  3. Sponsors
  4. Research institutions and organizations that would like to partner with us and utilize the Heraclitus

For those interested in sponsoring, partnering, or volunteering please email

Our History

RV Heraclitus, the Chinese-junk sailing ship built and owned by the Institute of Ecotechnics in San Francisco, has sailed the world’s oceans since 1975 voyaging more than 270,000 nautical miles in the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Pacific, Antarctic Ocean, including a 3,700 km trip up the Amazon River.

Over the course of its 13 epic expeditions, the ship has been a nautical home to hundreds of seafarers from all walks of life and ages and hailing from over fifty countries. The Heraclitus is a mobile platform for art, science, and adventure.

Our Vision and Goals for the Heraclitus:

“The ocean’s decline is an existential threat to us all… every second breath we take comes from the oxygen created by phytoplankton and other marine plants. The decline… [has] dire consequences for the future of many marine and terrestrial species, including humankind.” 

– Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for The Oceans

We are currently in a global climate emergency. The ocean biome is facing the destructive impacts of multiple planetary crises, with rising temperatures and sea levels impacting marine flora and fauna, acidification of water and major meteorological consequences to rapidly changing marine environments. We need immediate solutions that help mitigate these impacts on people and the planet to ensure our survival.

The sea is the front line for research, monitoring, and documenting the planet’s changes. We can and must develop effective and inspired solutions to these urgent problems through innovative and targeted oceanic studies.

The Heraclitus is one of the most unique research vessels for accessing remote areas and engaging with local cultures. The ship will be outfitted with state-of-the-art data collection instruments, host seamanship training programs, and citizen science action.

Educational programs are an essential piece of the ongoing expeditions.

Programs will include:

• Documenting cultural diaspora

• Facilitating onsite and virtual classrooms

• Hosting guest lecturers and symposiums

  • Providing state of the art platforms for marine research
  • Providing media channels and education for indigenous peoples’ in the Amazon to report first hand knowledge and impending crises
  • Hosting scuba lessons throughout Latin American Oceans and the Caribbean
  • Organizing expeditions with other Ocean research groups

Educational and Training Programs

Over forty years, hundreds of aspiring managers, ecologist, artists and explorers have joined the crew. The skills acquired on this very unique ship are many: sailing, navigation, small group dynamics, public speaking, interactions with multiple cultures, direct contact with the forces of nature. Many have gone on to make important contributions in the worlds of ecology, science, and management – their time on the Heraclitus has left an indelible positive mark on their personal journeys.


As part of the cultural exchange with the people met in ports, the crew of the Heraclitus puts on original theatrical productions about life at sea.

All the funds raised in this campaign go directly to the Heraclitus.

Donations are tax deductible via the Institute of Ecotechnics, UK and Institute of Ecotechnics, USA. In the UK, please consider contributing under Gift Aid.

We also welcome gifts-in-kind, such as air miles, equipment and services.
Thank you for your help to fund the rebuild of this legendary ship and get her back into the oceans where she can continue to sail to new cultures, map and monitor the health of our seas, and educate a new generation of Sea People.


Thank you for your donation!

Institute of Ecotechnics: U.K. Educational Charity, Central Register of Charities (No. 1081259)
24 Old Gloucester St.; London, WC1N 3AL. UK
Institute of Ecotechnics: U.S.A. 501(c)(3) Not-for-profit Organization (No. 74-3177755)
1 Bluebird Ct; Santa Fe, New Mexico 87508 USA

“Our mission is to sail the world’s oceans and great rivers to connect people and cultures and inspire a deeper understanding of the biosphere through the art of navigation.”


Captain Claus Tober using a sextant to navigate.

Wade Davis, Sir Ghillean Prance, Dennis McKenna and former Captain Robert Hahn discuss the 1982 expedition of the Heraclitus up the Amazon River and the impact of the RV Heraclitus.

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