By Sigrid Tornquist
It seems whatever Katie Bradford is involved in, there’s always some connection to the sea. When she isn’t working on fabricating projects for someone else’s boat, she’s either sailing on one of her own vessels, volunteering for the New London Community Boating nonprofit organization she founded with her mother, or she’s fabricating a one-off item designed to further marine exploration.
One unusual project Bradford and others at Custom Marine Canvas worked on was a camera harness for a sea lion. Recruited by Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn., the company designed a harness that attaches a camera to the sea lion, enabling scientists to learn more about the undersea world without disturbing the natural habitat of the sea creatures.
Bradford was also hired to design and manufacture a project for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Her company has been building 60-foot-long zippered sheaths to keep the cables on a submersible from tangling when going to the bottom of the ocean. Most recently, the product was used when the RV Atlantis deployed a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.