Whats it like working Reseach Vessels?

Hi All,
So has any one worked on west coast research vessels? Any advice about Uof W, OSU, UCSD Scripts boats or what its like working for them?

Capt Fran is leaving for a 30 day hitch on one of those boats soon and I’m sure will be happy to give a full report post-hitch.

I’ve never sailed on one of those but I’ll bet it is just like any other boat except there’s a bunch of seasick scientists and horny grad students along for the ride, kinda like a NOAA boat.

Fun but not much money

captmike is right on with his post. I worked with OSU for almost 2 years and had a blast. The wages met my needs as a single guy fresh out of school but wouldn’t pay my mortgage note now. The best part was homeporting in Newport… just across the street from the Rogue Brewery!

I just started looking at the Wecoma. Seems as though all they want is guys for a temporary on-call pool.
Whats the story on that?

A guy could starve to death sitting on the dock waiting for a full time crew to give up a hitch. Or is it jsut a way to weed out the knuckle heads?

Any insight with that one?
When did you work in Newport?

I hate to say this but my sister use to tend bar in the Bay Haven…

It says this post has been posted by some guy named Cheng but thats not my name. Iv’e never been here before.
I used to date some Gal that worked at Bay Haven… I had to dump her because she had a brother that was an @**. Damn, his name was Bob

Get another beer, order a pizza, and go watch some tv…

Im writing this from the Roger Revelle from Scripps.
The guys are right, real fun job here, go to cool places, crew that is laid back cuz they certainly not here for the money, just a little adventure. Minimal overtime here, they cant afford it, but we manage to keep our ship ship-shape. Looks great, our engine room spotless and well maintained. They dont deal with people with bad attitudes here. but it took me 6 years here to finally get hired permanent, pay isnt that great, and if you want to go to school to upgade, it will have to come out of your wallet. the money just isnt there these days.
I have no regrets, but now Im looking to get my 3rd mate license and get my career moving forward again, and I will have a tough time paying for my schooling even on a 3rd mates wages, so its time for me to move on, I know getting my 3rds will open some doors for me.
I worked for Lamont Doherty for a short time on Maurice Ewing. got lots of overtime there, good money, I thought they were a bit uptight there cuz they wanted me to report to watch 20 minutes before the hour!.. ok, thats where I draw the line 10 min no problem, 15 is ok, but 20? does that make the ship 10 minutes better than everybody elses? That ship was on its last legs and they got a new ship now, but I understand they are having problems the last couple years getting it working right.
Friends report from U of W, Thom Thompson that There are quite a few disgruntled people there, bad attitudes. pay is a little better, but not worth working with some jerks.
Woods Hole’s Atlantis pays well, lots of overtime, and good money because of that. but for all that overtime the ship still manages to be poorly maintained.
University of Hawaii’s Kilo Moana (kilo marijuana haha!) has reports similar to the Atlantis… overtime, but ship still manages to be poorly maintained, another complaint is that its a pain in the ass to work on, the twin hull design is stable on station, but wobbles at speed, and difficult to have 2 work areas, one in each hull.
thats the scuttlebut anyways…
check out WWW.UNOLS.ORG

I worked as a 3/m on the Melville for Scripps and it was a great experience and great people but sadly the pay is something to be desired. Probably the best thing I got out of it was to get acquainted with their Kongsberg DP system and that definitely helped me get hired with Transocean and I’m now an ADPO with them. If any of you guys have any questions I’ll answer as well as I can.

Check this discussion title: “3mate and 2mates wanted for T-AGS Vessels” for a lot on this topic; I just moved it to the top of the forum.

Stellarseas, guest, jefrox:
Thanks for the detailed info. I sent an email to Mary Maldonado at Scripts this morning. Is she to hiring person?
You say it took 6 years to get on full time. What were you doing for that 6 years? How many days offshore did were you getting in your 1st and 2nd year?
Im looking at 360 days >100 grt as AB before I qualify for 1600 ton mate NC. Sounds like then im off to OICNW school and a test at my expense. Humm…
Youre writng this reply from the Revelle. Do you have onboard web browsing ability?
How much weight does RV experince count in the GOM?
Why did you stay 6 years???
Thanks again for taking the time for the reply. Greatly appreciated !

Hi Bob. Mary is the lady to contact. I was working on the Revelle, and Melville (which by the way is a good ship too, but quite a bit older) about 8 months a year as “temporary” meaning, I actually got paid more than the permanents, but I didnt get any benefits. I was actually sailing much more than the “permanents” as well.
Like I said, its a real cool job as long as getting ahead in your career or financially isnt a priority.
Typical rotation is 4 months on, 4 off. We can be on some real long cruises, about 60 days without touching land. you run out of fresh food, and eat canned and frozen stuff for a while.
We have internet, but its kinda dodgy, depending on our heading, the mast can block the satellite.
Im guessing work here that can be relevant in GOM would be that we sometimes do seismic work, ROVs, the ships have DP systems, but they are not rated, so at most you can become familiar with DP and azimuting thrusters. Thats what I can think of off the top of my head…
As with all crews on ships, attiudes can change, some of the ol’ cool salts are retiring, and some of the cranky old bastards as well. But there was nothing like the good ol’ days (2002-2003 ah so long ago…)
So I dont mean to put any of the other ships down, thats just the scuttlebutt we get here.
Im moving on to get my 3rd mates, and aspire to be a DPO as my next goal.
So Guest that was 3rd on the Melville… hook me up with Transocean!
Give Mary a call monday! we need a relief AB to replace me next week!

I was there in the late 90’s. They’re only looking for relief crew because there is only one ‘crew’ and to earn a decent wage they work most of the year 'round. Some of the guys on the current roster were there 10 years ago too. It’s a great bunch but you’re gone all of the time. I had lots of nights off in Newport but I literally lived on board and maybe had 2 or 3 weeks total off over 18 months.

Don’t anyone jump too quickly at Transocean. I worked for West Coast research vessels too for years–and loved it–but left when I was told I was being hired by Transocean as a DPO. That was 3 months ago. I can’t take fill-in work–to pay my mortgage, etc–because I am technically on-call, but haven’t been put on a ship yet. No one will return my calls regarding benefits or assignments or any of the great training they were supposed to be offering. I did get to attend their bogus “boot camp” that masquerades as orientation. So now I know how to tie a bowline–I’ve been at sea for 30+ years–but at least I am a certified boy scout. Anyone else had this same experience?

Rollingstone if it makes you feel any better I applied to transocean for their 3rd mate opening a couple weeks ago and heard nothing back. Can’t even get a email address or phone number in which to follow up my resume.

I can get you a name and a phone number, but it won’t really do any good. They’ll contact you if they want you, but other than that, you won’t hear from them. A friend of mine works for them as an ADPO and isn’t so thrilled, but it’s a steady job. I was under the impression though that if you were on-call you were still getting paid your 86-hour work week - at least he was. He came back from that TOPS thing and was home for like 3 weeks before he flew out to his rig, and he got paid for all of it.

Thanks for the offer New3M but I was already givin that impression when I called their HQ yesterday

Well, I can give you contact information for Matthew Ewers, who is a recruiter for Transocean.

Phone: 832-587-8813

Bob, I spent seven and a half months on the NOAA Discoverer in 1975. Gulf AK and Bering Sea up in the pack ice, Cook Inlet,Resurection Bay, Inside Passage. All kinds of good places, including Dutch and Adak, with good time in port, better than with a merchant ship of that era. Good food, clean. The trip was in two parts. The first half was beautiful, with a great crew, lots of good movies, even some musical events, pretty women, some of them officers, good chess games. The second half, everyone seemed to be horny or disgruntled. Lots of discord, even between some of the ships officers. Theft of drugs in Juneau. fights ashore, NMU squabbles. An AB ground off the end of a finger. An ordinary on security watch lost a finger in a slamming door. The Quartermaster on the other side of that door was prepared to defend himself and his territory, a female from the Steward’s department, with a loaded shotgun. I also nearly shut down the ship, myself, because I painted both sides of a door, thereby depriving someone of 5 minutes worth of overtime (that would have been stretched to five hours). In Dutch, when at one period we remained for some time at some distance off the wharf, an old AB tried to swim back to ship after his time in the Elbow Room. He had to be knocked silly by his rescuers in order for them to drag his thrashing body into a boat. We all went to the Elbow room, one of the most dangerous places on the planet, and we were careful; some of those old, bitter Scandinavian fishermen were huge. Overall, even taking both halves of the trip, it was a great experience. I didn’t sail for NOAA for another eleven years because I found on board the book, Commercial Oilfield Diving, and that’s when I decided to make my fortune among the SuperStars of the Offshore Oil Industry, as a Scottish magazine portrayed it. (Imagine how thrilled that made my wife.) Big mistake, Big. Soon I would find myself getting off a chopper, at night, onto the helideck of the DB Thor, the worlds largest derrick barge/ship of the time–the shear legs of the derrick, four hundred feet and cradled fifty feet off the deck, 64 part blocks and a hook twelve feet across, could put 2000 tons three hundred feet up onto the Forties Alpha. A guy screamed at me,"You’re on night shift. Ever been in combat? Too bad if you haven’t, because it’s just like combat here!"
And to emphasize my mistake, the following year I think it was, the Disco went all over the South Pacific. NOAA can be like that.
When I sailed with NOAA again it was on the Mount Mitchell, 86. I got on her at a very hard time of my life, very depressed, and that was just right for the ship and the crew, who were all just the same. The ship was laid up for awhile in San Diego with a broken starboard shaft, and when we finally sailed up to Seattle and Union Bay it was on one prop. Everything on that ship was sour and gray and cold. TVs on in every room. (We didn’t have TV on the Disco. No seamen talk in the galley. No cards, no
cribbage, no old guy talk of United Fruit days. Just 24 hour MTV. My roommate informed me of the logistics of making good dope deals. A more senior AB who foolishly tried to order me around was, like a number of others on the ship, struggling to make his child support payments. The Jone Act didn’t help him on that one. In Alaska, the Mount Mitchell would launch boats to go ashore in some very beautiful, remote places, all as part of the survey work. But I got off the ship after chipping paint for three weeks in Seattle.
And the UW? There have been two Thomas G. Thompsons. I don’t know about the second one, I was on the first in 1968. It was uncomfortable, cramped. It wallowed miserably. And it was the first and only time I was so seasick I nearly had to be flown ashore. I spent three days straight in a shower. But then it was over, just in time for the Typhoon. 40 foot, very steep seas, just like a surf. We buried half the ship every time we dropped over a wave. Great times, I loved it! And that brings up something I should mention. Research ships often keep right on working, placing or retrieving buoys, taking samples, etc, in heavy weather. Those days, anyway, no one bothered to wear a lifevest or survival suit. No hardhats. Freedom, like the North Sea in the seventies! I remember nights when, setting buoys, we worked off the very stern of the ship with no rail to catch, the ship pitching in breathtaking falls, the wind howling at about 50 knts or more, white seas everywhere a searchlight could show them. We sent down grabs that we couldn’t grab when we hauled them up, they werre swinging through the air so violently. I remember a very pretty and sharp ensign screaming through the wind to grab it, grab it, but another guy kept hitting me in the face with his boathook, so I retreated for a moment, miffed at being so brutally ordered about by a woman. The ensign grabbed the boathook from the guy and yelled for us to step aside. She nearly went over but she grabbed the grab.
On the Thompson we were in the Central Pacific, in and out of Honolulu.
The following year or year after, while I was doing something I hated, the Thompson sailed around the world, hitting more ports than most merchant seaman see in a lifetime.
So, the upshot of all this, Yes! By all means sail on a research ship if you can. If you have some University time you can also sail in the Survey Department. The Coast Guard counts that as good deck time. Your Observer time is a great plus. The Dive time, at whatever level, is a plus. And one of the special benefits of sailing with NOAA, for instance, is that you will get a lot of sea time, if that’s what you want. In their current add on the internet, NOAA is looking for ABs. Special is good enough. You must, they say, be willing to spend at least 240 days a year at sea! I have personally been responsible for prompting three NOAA guys, total novices at the time (one had come out of a monastery!) to document their sea time and go for it. One became Master of a cruise boat, then lost his papers over drugs. One became an unlimited AB and then turned to sailing his own sloop. And one, the monk, though he married, became an unlimited Master. The last time I spoke to him he was taking ships into the Persian Gulf. And great benefits. You go good places, just like a tramp. It might be the Bering, or it might be the Coral Sea, it might be Antarctica, or maybe just off one of our coasts. If you get through a season well, as I’m sure you would, you’ll almost certainly have a job the following season. The ships are a lot prettier than most merchant ships these days, and on an R/V you have less to fear from pirates than if you were on a container ship. They’re not actually sailed by pirates, the way an SIU Victory that I sailed around the world in 66 was. And I would rate working on a good R/V far above what you can find with the offshore oil. Ethically, also, it’s better. And all of the work is much easier than observer work. Of course, on the Akebono boats (and I was on not small ones but the largest of the fleet, 400gt, 21 foot draft) you did have the out of sync Japanese porno in the officer mess, if you needed that. You had eight ounce glasses of straight whiskey, if you could keep up with the Captain. And you did have occasionally some amazing displays of seamanship, the likes of which I’ve seen nowhere else.

Does anyone know if they take cadets aboard research vessels?