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      Research vessel helps biologist study fish in Lake Superior

      Researchers with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) were up bright and early as they headed out onto Lake Superior.

      The research vessel, Lake Char, does just that, and the captain of this boat is Kevin Rathbun.

      "We have quite a bit of the newest technology as far as the marina industry goes. We just got ourselves a new E165 this year with HD Digital Radar as well," said Rathbun.

      According to the DNR, Lake Char is 56 feet long with a 16-foot beam and a draft of 4 1/2 feet. It is powered by twin diesel engines with a cruising speed of about 22 miles per hour.

      Much of the time spent on Lake Char was used collecting information on the trout they catch. All of that information is first spoken into a microphone and transmitted into the onboard computer system.

      "I'm just kind of watching the database making sure that he's recording all of the information directly as he says it. All the data from that fish in the database, and that's on the scale, they all match the numbers," said Chris Little, assistant captain.

      Although technology will continue to advance, the DNR said the Lake Char was designed and built to be dependable and low maintenance for 50 or more years.