It may be surprising to learn that the combined nautical might of Riverkeeper, the environmental watchdog organization that's been protecting the Hudson River since the early '70s, consists of a single 37-foot wooden fishing boat, captained and crewed by one person.
Piloting the Ron Fletcher, John Lipscomb patrols more than 160 miles of river, from New York Harbor to Waterford (about 10 miles north of Albany). His responsibilities include investigating reports of spills and conducting water-quality tests. "I have an Android smartphone," he says, "that I use to take and send pictures, along with GPS waypoints to mark a site for further investigation." He runs scientific tests and files incident reports on one of two onboard laptops and sends the data back to the office. "I hit a key and boom, we're off to the races," he marvels.