Cape Fear Community College’s marine technology program is getting a new ship.

And it’s a big one.

WILMINGTON — Cape Fear Community College’s marine technology program is getting a new ship.

And it’s a big one.

The college announced Friday that it has bought the research vessel Cape Hatteras, a scientific research ship, from Duke University’s marine lab in Beaufort. The Cape Hatteras, which CFCC bought for $900,000, will replace the Dan Moore, the college’s 50-year-old research ship.

Vessels like the Cape Hatteras let students participate in research trips during their college careers. Students in CFCC’s marine technology program, which currently enrolls 140 students, can go out into the ocean for hands-on experimentation. Students can stay out at sea onboard the vessel for anywhere from three to 10 days at a time, learning how to live and work on a ship.

The Cape Hatteras is a younger and larger ship than the Dan Moore, which CFCC officials have been trying to replace for more than 10 years. The Cape Hatteras is 31 years old and 135 feet long compared to the 50-year-old, 85-foot Dan Moore. The Cape Hatteras got a complete upgrade in 2003, and college officials said they’d be able to use it for at least another decade.

“If you were to Kelley Blue Book it ... (the Cape Hatteras) is excellent,” while the Dan Moore’s condition would be considered good, said Jason Rogers, chairman of CFCC’s marine technology department.

Kelly Bryant, who will graduate from CFCC’s marine technology program in May, said she was excited to hear about the new purchase.

“We already felt lucky enough having the Dan Moore,” she said Friday, as she watched it return to port from a five-day training cruise. “Knowing we have a big future ahead of us is wonderful.”

Marine technology students log 32 days at sea on five different training cruises, including ones to Charleston, S.C., and the Bahamas, before completing the two-year program. On a cruise, students spend half their time on the technical side — navigating the ship — and half on the biological side — dredging the ocean floor. Expeditions like that are crucial, Bryant said. She’s looking for a job in hydrographic surveying and said her experience on the Dan Moore gives her a leg up.

“It’s very nice to be able to put on a resume that I’ve used this equipment,” she said. “‘Hireable’ is an understatement.”

The sale of the Cape Hatteras will officially close on Tuesday, and the ship will be moved from Beaufort to CFCC’s dock in downtown Wilmington on Thursday. The Dan Moore will be used for the school’s summer cruises through June and will then go up for sale, Hardin said.