RV Clifford A. Barnes at its home port
|Name:||RV Clifford A. Barnes|
|Namesake:||Clifford A. Barnes|
|Owner:||National Science Foundation|
|Operator:||University of Washington|
|Builder:||Western Boat, Tacoma, Washington|
|Acquired:||by the U. S. Coast Guard, 1965, as USCGC Bitt|
|In service:||circa 1982 as RV Cifford A. Barnes|
|Reclassified:||Leased to University of Washington, School of Oceanography, 1995|
|Homeport:||School of Oceanography Pier, Portage Bay|
|Tonnage:||86 displacement tons|
|Propulsion:||CAT D379 400 HP|
|Complement:||8, including 6 scientific party|
RV Clifford A. Barnes is a research vessel owned by the National Science Foundation and operated as part of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System fleet. The University of Washington School of Oceanography currently operates the vessel under a charter-party agreement. Other ships in use by the University of Washington include RV Thomas G. Thompson (T-AGOR-23) and Wealander.
Clifford A. Barnes began service as a United States Coast Guard icebreaking small harbor tug, USCGC Bitt. Built by Western Boat Building Co in 1965 for ice operations, search and rescue, and pollution response, she was one of fifteen of her class ordered by the Coast Guard. She was decommissioned in 1982 and turned over to the National Science Foundation, although ships of her class remain in service by the USCG. 
The University of Washington School of Oceanography uses the Barnes for oceanographic and fishery research in the protected littoral waters of Washington and British Columbia. The vessel serves as platform for research on the fjord system of Puget Sound and the surrounding bodies of water. She supports research best done in sheltered bodies of water, and on the effects of populated areas on coastal areas. Barnes has a small science space, two winches, a crane, and can house up to six scientists and students. Cruises are generally only one day in length, although they sometimes run as long as six days. The university's use of Barnes is supported through a combination of grants and contracts, the university's operating funds, and self-sustaining revenue. Barnes has gone on over 77 cruises since April 2008.
An important non-research function of Clifford A. Barnes is to serve as a vehicle for community outreach. The main purpose of this outreach is to educate students about the marine sciences. This is primarily done through a two-day open house for local students grades 3–12. Faculty, crew, and students give tours of the ship, as well as demonstrations of marine research.
Although an October 2011 National Science Foundation inspection revealed that Barnes is still in generally good condition, its limited scientific and berthing capacity have prompted the University of Washington to look for a replacement. Although the replacement ship would still operate primarily in and around Puget Sound, Jensen Maritime Consultants has been commissioned to draw up plans for a vessel that will feature faster cruising speed, extended range, and increased berthing, among other improvements. However, the National Science Foundation has recommended that RV Clifford A. Barnes stay in service through 2016.
The vessel is currently being sold at auction.