For a cruise to be successful we need the following individuals; captain, engineer, deckhand, scientists and assistant scientists. A brief description of their jobs and backgrounds are listed below.
In addition to these positions, there are a host of other careers in aquatic science that may interest you. This interactive flip book provides an overview of who works at the WATER Institute and how they got there.
The all-important Captain is responsible for commanding activities from the bridge, enforcing the use of proper safety measures, and often serving as navigator to plot the vessel's course from the dock to the sampling sites and back.
A captian's license is required for the job and this can be obtained after one full year at sea, which usually takes 3 to 5 years to accomplish. You must then pass a 5 part written test that takes 3 to 6 months of study.
The job involves day trips off-shore from home port as well as week long voyages with nightly stops. Working conditions can be rough especially in stormy weather.
The engineer runs the engines, fixes them when necessary, and operate the valves that control steering, propulsion, and hydraulic equipment like winches, the anchor windlass, and so on.
Sometime there is need to work long days and weekends and rough weather and a rolling deck can make the job difficult and sometimes dangerous.
The deck hand, is skilled in basic equipment use necessary to operate winches, handle docking lines and moorings, and sometimes to cook lunch or dinner.
The captain and the engineer are often busy operating the vessel, and the deck hand is the most frequent person directly involved with performing "over the side" operations for science.
The work is often seasonal and vacant positions are sometime difficult to find.
One person is in command of the scientific component of the trip. They decide which locations to sample, the order of sampling procedures, and are the final word in communication with the Captain about the day's activities.
The Chief Scientist is usually well experienced in most or all of the methods needed to accomplish research goals. Most sampling action requires more than one person - in rare instances the Chief Scientist and the deck hand will do the work together, but usually there are science assistants.
The chief scientist's work does not end when the ship returns to port, they often spend the night after a cruise running test on the samples collected from the lake.
A Ph.D. and postdocotal experience are required.
Usually two other trained scientific collaborators come along. They may be other investigators, professional laboratory employees or students and teachers out for real-world learning experience.
They work under the supervision of the chief scientist.