BAR HARBOR — Maine’s College of the Atlantic has commissioned construction of a new research vessel.

College officials in Bar Harbor say the 46-foot vessel, dubbed Five Friends, is under construction at Wesmac boat yard in Surry.

Officials say the vessel will be able to accommodate up to 40 people, enough for classes to be conducted onboard. It’ll also have a shallow draft, so it can maneuver in harbors and around islands. It’ll be capable of 18 knots.

The boat was named by the late Edward McCormick Blair, a former college trustee who asked four friends to join him in financing construction costs as well as to create a fund for maintaining and operating the boat.