Dan Steelquist, July 7, 2009

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Dan Steelquist
Onboard NOAA Ship Rainier
July 6 – 24, 2009 

Mission: Hydrographic Survey
Geographical Area: Pavlov Islands, Gulf of Alaska
Date: July 7, 2009

Weather Data from the Bridge 
Latitude: 56° 20.76′ N
Longitude: 157°09.52′ W
Visibility: 10+ Nautical Miles
Wind Direction: 220° true
Wind Speed: 14 knots
Sea Wave Height: 1-2ft.
Swell Waves: 3-5ft.
Water Temperature: 9.4° C
Dry Bulb: 11.7° C
Wet Bulb: 11.1° C
Sea Level Pressure: 1021.0 mb

Science and Technology Log 

The Rainier is a self-contained workstation that has many different types of jobs that need to be done. As I have arrived and settled in, I have tried to learn what jobs people do on board and how their work contributes to mission of the ship.

The workers on the ship are divided into six different departments.

  • The officers oversee the total operation of the ship. They plan the ship’s course and control the ship from the bridge while it is underway.  The officers are also involved in the survey operations
  • The Survey Department gathers and processes hydrographic survey data.
  • The Electronics Department maintains electronic equipment and electrical systems on board the ship.
  • The Stewards keep the crew fed
  • The Deck Department handles all the work on the deck including launching and retrieving the small boats. They also handle the lines when the ship is docking and they operate machinery to raise and lower the anchor
  • The Engineering Department maintains and operates the ship’s engines and generators.

There are many different career opportunities on a ship like the Rainier. Some of the jobs are similar to land based work, yet with a nautical twist. Most of the jobs require some specialized training. All of the jobs appear to be both challenging and rewarding.

Personal Log 

That’s where I’ll be living for the next 3 weeks: NOAA Ship Rainier
That’s where I’ll be living for the next 3 weeks: NOAA Ship Rainier

Wow, what an experience so far. Ship life is so much different than life on land. There is so much to learn and know. There are necessary procedures for every aspect of this world and the crew of the Rainier has been very helpful in making me feel welcome.  Once we left the dock in Seward, the importance of clear procedures became obvious. Moving this much equipment around an ocean with people living and working on board is no small feat. Everyone has very specific jobs to do and time and places they are assigned to work. I have spent much of my time finding my way around the ship and getting to know what types of jobs these people have. The trip from Seward to our work area takes about forty hours. Once there, we will begin the survey work. Our ship has been assigned the task of surveying the seafloor in some areas that have never before been charted. Once we get that work underway, I’ll be able to peer further into the world of a hydrographic survey ship. The adventure goes on…

Something to Think About 
How might the types of work on a ship like the Rainier be similar to and/or different from a closely related job on land?

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