Jennifer Fry: March 20, 2012, Oscar Elton Sette

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Jennifer Fry
Onboard NOAA Ship, Oscar Elton Sette
March 12 – March 26, 2012

Mission: Fisheries Study
Geographical area of cruise: American Samoa
Date: March 20, 2012


Pictured is our NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette.

Life on the ocean aboard NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette

There were four decks or levels to the ship which include:

  • Flying Bridge Deck: observations take place as well as storage


  • Bridge Deck: Navigation can take place from the bridge or the trawl house. The trawl house

faces toward the stern of the ship and is used to control the ship during “fishing.”

  • Boat Deck: Officers’ & Chief Scientist’s staterooms. A stateroom is where you would sleep

on a boat or ship. Your bed is called a “rack.” Most staterooms on the Oscar Elton Sette have

bunk beds. The boat deck is where the small launches/rescue boats are stored.

  • There is a FRB, Fast Rescue Boat, and two small launches.
  •  Quarterdeck/ Main Deck: Ship’s store, survey officers’ staterooms and the back deck, used

for fishing. *The term quarterdeck was originally, in the early 17th century, used for a

smaller deck, covering about a quarter of the vessel. It is usually reserved for officers,

guests, passengers. It is also an entry point for personnel.

  • Lower/ Galley Deck: Crew’s and scientists’ staterooms, library, two lounges, galley, where everyone eats their meals.
  • Hold: Gym for exercising and engineer’s storage area.
  • Communications, Oscar Elton Sette maintains a Web site titled Student Connection (, which provides semi-weekly communication between students and the ship. Students can follow the vessel’s daily operations through regularly posted pictures and write-ups through this site.

For more information about the Sette go to:

The NOAA Corps (

NOAA Commissioned Corps Officers are a vital part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric

Administration (NOAA). Officers provide

support during NOAA missions ranging

from launching a weather balloon at the

South Pole, conducting hydrographic or

fishery surveys in Alaska, maintaining buoys

in the tropical Pacific, flying snow surveys

and into hurricanes.

NOAA Corps celebrates its 205th


this year.

Find out more about the Corps, its mission and history from the “About the Corps” link.

Pictured here is the entire science party aboard the NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette.

Here are some ship terms to remember…

Stairs are ladders

Stairwells are ladderwells

Ceilings are overheads

Floors are decks

Bathrooms are heads

Halls are passageways

Big halls are companionways

Pointy end is the bow (pronounced like  “wow”)

Stubby end is stern

And liberty, which is shore leave — time off on shore (enlisted get liberty & officers get shore leave)

Who’s Piloting the Ship?

A steer is what you BBQ

You steer a car

You pilot a ship

The person on the wheel of the ship is the helmsman

The wheel is called the helm

You steer a course

You pilot a ship

Wishing you fair winds and following seas

 Student Questions:
Q: Have you seen any butterfly fish?
A: The most interesting butterfly fish was a juvenile.  It was about the size of a marble and it had horns. It was certainly one of the most interesting specimens we caught.
This is a juvenile butterfly fish. It is the size of a small marble and has horns.
The butterfly fish is rather rare and this made the scientists very happy to see one.

Q:  What do you do when there IS a fire?

A:  While onboard the NOAA ship Sette we had several fire drills.  The scientists and I were to report to the “Texas Deck” which is just behind the bridge where the captain pilots the ship.  During the “Abandon Ship” drill, I learned to put on a big orange “Gumby Suit” also known as a  survival suit.  When worn it keeps you afloat and warm while in the water, and since it is orange, it is very visible.

Teacher at Sea, Jennifer Fry and crew member James McDade muster on the Texas Deck during an Abandon Ship drill aboard NOAA ship Sette.

One Reply to “Jennifer Fry: March 20, 2012, Oscar Elton Sette”

  1. Very interesting seeing photos and descriptions of everyday life on board the ship. Question: Is a vessel called a boat or ship depending on its size?

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