Arctic Tern I is a polar expedition vessel operated by the Students on Ice Foundation, a pioneer and leader in polar education since 1999. Students on Ice was formed and is led by Geoff Green – Member of the Order of Canada, Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, and member of the international Explorers Club.


Acquired by the Students on Ice in 2009, Arctic Tern I is a unique platform for Arctic education, science, film and media. At 47 feet and with a retractable and shoal draft keel, she is versatile, cost-effective, nimble and flexible – able to access coastal areas that are hazardous to the navigation of traditional Arctic expedition craft.

She was designed and built specifically for polar work and has been safely voyaging in high latitudes since 1995. Arctic Tern I is designed and built by the same yard behind Eric Brossier’s “Vagabond” sailing vessel that completed the first Arctic circumnavigation (via the North-East and North-West passage) in 2002. Her steel hull and full complement of modern navigation and telecommunications gear make her a tough, reliable, and safe platform for collaborative research, education and media projects.

Registered in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, Arctic Tern I is named in honour of the legendary glaciologist Dr. Fritz Koerner. Fritz was nicknamed Imiqutailaq (Arctic Tern in Inuktitut) by his Inuit friends in Grise Fjord because just like that extraordinary seabird Fritz would annually migrate from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back.

The mission for Arctic Tern I is to provide a safe, environmentally friendly, cost effective, and versatile platform for education, research and media projects in the Arctic. Between 2013 and 2018, Arctic Tern I will be on expedition in the eastern Canadian Arctic.

Students on Ice

Students on Ice is an award-winning organization offering unique educational expeditions to the Antarctic and the Arctic. Its mandate is to provide students, educators and scientists from around the world with inspiring educational opportunities at the ends of the Earth and, in doing so, help them foster a new understanding and respect for the planet.