Position: 2nd mate
I’ve been working at NIWA for 2 years. Before that I was on cement carriers for Holcim and before that I spent 6 months on deck of the R/V Falkor. I trained on oil tankers and then did four years on cruise ships as third mate before moving onto Schmitt ocean institute on their 80m research ship where they work more on innovation/exploration science. As the second mate I handle risk management, navigation, health and safety, administration, training of new crew and general people management. I spend a lot of time looking out the window also.
My favourite thing about the job is the variety – not being stuck in one place. We have good time on and time off with a month on/month off roster. There is a variety of challenges which keep things interesting. I have a few favourite voyages, including an around the world voyage on cruise ships and a sea surface micro layer voyage on the Falkor. At NIWA my favourite voyages have been the deployments and recoveries of data-buoys due to the well organised teams involved. I am also looking forward to the Kermadec trench voyage and Antarctic voyages coming up.
For those who are interested in a future in science, don’t get caught up in mainstream science and think for yourself. You should look for science you’re interested in, not necessarily industry. Think about the ocean as a living breathing entity of its own, what’s healthy for the ocean is healthy for us! It is not an endless resource to be exploited and it is important to learn better, more sustainable practices. There are a lot of better ways to do things!
Get a variety of viewpoints and ways of doing science rather than old institutional ways of thinking.