Boys, boys, play nice if you're going to play at all.
There are folks who regularly PAY for the privilege of joining educational and research projects and expeditions every year, sometimes $1000 a week plus their own travel and expenses, in order to help do research. They've got the time and the money and they want to do something a little different, and they get a tax deduction and a chance to get some field experience too.
So, I don't see it as unreasonable that Scripps would be looking for someone, perhaps a nice couple in their early retirement or on sabbatical who might even have a nice little trawler and might be willing to say "Sure, we'll donate the boat to you for a month, wet or dry."
She didn't ask for anyone to pick up the whole thing--just the use of the boat. So as I read it, Scripps would be picking up the fuel
and everything else, they are just looking for the loan of a boat, preferably crewed by an owner or two.
Not unreasonable at all, considering that there are folks who have the ability and the will to do this. Even if ours is not the most likely place to find them.
Heck, when I was 19 I would have gladly spent summer vacation "working" for free for Cousteau. If I was retired and had the trawler...sure, I would think about lending it to Scripps for a month. Why not?!