The Florida Institute of Oceanography operates two vessels that are utilized by member institutions and the wider marine science community to further scientific research on the Gulf of Mexico, its ecology, marine life and sustainability.

Captain White with USF President Genshaft


Captain Matt White

Captain Matt began his ventures at sea in the Coast Guard, where he started as a seaman, and worked his way up the ranks during his 12 year career. He majored in Liberal Arts.  He has been with the Weatherbird II for 3 1/2 years.  Growing up in the city, until the Coast Guard, never had a calling for water.  When not out at sea, Matt spends time with his wife and two year old daughter.He also enjoys home remodeling and computers.

When asked about his favorite expedition memory, Matt responded, ” This is a hard question, over the course of sixty plus cruises, the scientists have made great discoveries: finding a subsurface oil plume, 250m below the surface, rare sharks and critters brought up from 1000+ meters.  I am truly lucky to be a part of such great discoveries, that will last a lifetime.”


Ryan Healy; Assistant Captain

A Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Frostburg State in Maryland set Ryan on his path out to sea.  He has 13 years of experience on various vessels, but considers his true introduction to sailing occurred at the age of six.  Ryan started on the Weatherbird II on February 14, 2012.

Ryan has done a lot of long distance tall ship sailing, the kind ships which resemble pirate ships.  In fact, he worked on the very ship used on the making of the movie, “Master and Commander”.    When not cruising professionally, Ryan enjoys sailing as a hobby and traveling.   His favorite experience was sailing cargo across the South Pacific, when two islander fishermen were aboard.  They routinely played their ukuleles which they came to believe attracted the fish.  Ryan, when off watch, would lie in his hammock, listening to their music.  When asked if he believed the music attracted fish, he said, “I don’t know but if they didn’t play, they didn’t catch fish.”


First Mate (Assistant Captain)


George Guthro; Assistant Engineer

This is the ninth year of sailing aboard Florida Institute of Oceanography vessels for George.  He has been on the Weatherbird II  for three years.  Between serving in the Navy and spending 35 years as a professional truck driver, George has been just about everywhere, including throughout the Caribbean, Hawaii, Australia, Japan and the Philippines.  His work aboard the  Weatherbird II  , leaves little time for anything else.

George has been all over the world


Chris Baily; Assistant Engineer

Chris began his nautical career in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he worked for several years.  He has also ventured into the business world as a restaurant manager.  For the past thirteen years, Chris has been on vessels full time, the last year and a half on the Weatherbird II.

Chris considers his best life experience to be having his two sons, Tristn, age 13 and Ayden, age 8.  When not aboard the Weatherbird II, he spends time at the gym, the beach and of course, more fishing!  Getting to experience seeing all of the islands in the Caribbean while in the Coast Guard is one of his most memorable experiences.

Chris Baily controls the wench


Chris cautiously bringing in the 5 mile-long fishing line


Andrew Warren – Science Technician

Andrew earned his B.S. in Geographic Information Systems from Florida State and a B.A. in Environmental Science from U.S.F. His six years of vessel experience includes working for the Center of Ocean Technology and 1 ½ years aboard the Weatherbird II .

Andrew’s life experiences include diving on the Great Barrier Reef at age 16.  He now spends his off time fishing, diving, kayaking and anything else outdoors.

His favorite memorable experience is snow-skiing for the first time in Grindelwald, Switzerland six years ago.

Andrew and his way-too-cool hard hat

Andrew, the communications technician, handling the communication instruments, tracking weather and monitoring the data from the CTD (conductivity, temperature and depth recording device).

















Michael Moles keeps the science party and crew well fed with his scrumptious meals

Mike Moles; Weatherbird II chef   Mike attended Ohio State and Columbus State, majoring in Hospitality Management.  He has been cooking up delicious meals aboard vessels since 1986, and only joined the Weatherbird II a month ago, but has graciously provided us with scrumptious meals all week long. When not cruising, he likes to work out at the gym and make his own beer.

Mike’s most memorable venture at sea was a 21 day cruise across the Atlantic to Italy in the roughest weather he has ever experienced, up to 20 foot seas.