Floating Instrument Platform (Flip) is an open ocean research vessel owned by the Office of Naval Research and operated by the Marine Physical Laboratory of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography
In 1962 they were joined by the research platform FLIP, FLoating Instrument Platform, whose great length lies mainly in the untroubled waters beneath the waves.
As a result, she is almost as stable as a fencepost and, for those who study the sea, oceanographers; she offers an opportunity for more refined ocean measurements than they have ever had before.
The Floating Instrument Platform, FLIP, is a 355 foot long manned spar buoy designed as a stable research platform for oceanographic research.
FLIP is towed to its operating area in the horizontal position and through ballast changes is “flipped” to the vertical position to become a stable spar buoy with a draft of 300 feet.
All the living and working areas are in the top part of FLIP.
Most of the bottom (the end of the bat that connects with the ball) is empty compartments. When these are filled with air, FLIP floats in its horizontal position.
When they are filled with seawater (which is heavier than air) the lower 300 feet of FLIP sink under the water and the lighter end rises. Twenty-eight minutes later, FLIP stands vertically, and its working areas have risen as much as five stories into the air.
During the flip, everyone stands on the outside decks. As FLIP flips, these decks slowly become bulkheads. (This is the name sailors use for walls.) The crew step onto decks that were, only moments before, bulkheads. Inside, decks have become bulkheads; bulkheads have become decks or overheads (ceilings).
It has also been used in a variety of other programs including geophysics, meteorology, physical oceanography, non-acoustic ASW and in laser propagation experiments. FLIP has operated in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.