The Team

Ship Location

E Pacific Ocean

Michael Hannaford

Photo of Michael Hannaford
ROV Pilot
Owner, Technician, Pilot
Hannaford's Subsea Services

Tell us about your work / research. What kinds of things do you do?

I'm an ROV Pilot & Technician and a Mechanical Technologist. Working as an ROV Pilot within a team I work to keep the ROV in a dive ready state, repair when required, and to fly the ROV to and around the site, as well as operate the manipulator. I am fortunate in that I spend my time working on science and research projects these days. I've worked exploring vent areas in the North and South Pacific, as well as biological surveys.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I started out working with ROVs in Newfoundland, there was a high demand for pilots at the time, for industry work. I had a good mechanical background and I thought I'd make a pitch for one of the positions. I thought it would be a lot of fun working with ROVs, and I still do today.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

I feel I've been fortunate to have been influenced by more than a few people with great outlooks on life. I think back to a high school teacher, my grandmother, and some of the people I work with today. People who understand and teach the importance of learning what you want out of life and pursuing it.

What element of your work / study do you think is the most fascinating?

As an ROV Pilot I think the question is made simple. Just getting to see such a variety of truly amazing features and life in the ocean. The tremendous diversity and enormity of it is staggering. Every job I've done in exploration and research has been an incredible experience in it's own way.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

Before working with ROVs I had accumulated quite a bit of experience as a mechanical technician. After working for some years, I returned to school to complete a mechanical technology program and began working with ROVs after that.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Mechanical Engineering Technologist

What are your hobbies?

I love travelling, another great benefit of this work. I also enjoy playing music, climbing, and peddling around Montreal.

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?

To work with ROVs I think it's best to have strong discipline in a technical background that works for you. Could be electronics, mechanical, robotics. Having a strong technical background is really important. There are many other aspects to working with the ROV but being strong in your discipline is key. Aside from that I think you have to enjoy solving problems, be interested in project based work, and enjoy travelling to who knows where.