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Ocean Exploration Trust

Exploration Vessel Nautilus is crewed by an international group of professional mariners who serve many important roles in the expedition. Our crew keep the ship in working order to deliver the Corps of Exploration across oceans on expeditions and keep the whole group safe at sea. The 17 professional crew run the engine room, drive the ship, generate electricity that powers the ship and ROVs, maintain and run drills with life-saving equipment, cook delicious meals, help make the ship a tidy working space, and arrange provisioning of fuel and food in ports around the world. 

There are many different roles within the crew:

Captain & Officers

Nautilus has one Captain along with a First Officer, Second Officer, and Third Officer collectively called the bridge officers. The Captain is the highest ranking officer and the Master of the ship. The Captain has the full authority to make executive decisions in order to preserve the life and safety of the ship's personnel and crew and must apply extreme care and proper judgement according to any given situation. The Captain is responsible for all operations aboard the vessel, including but not limited to navigation, safety and medical care of all aboard, protection of the environment, and compliance with regulations, local authorities and international maritime law. The Captain oversees the bridge officers in making sure all of the ship's charts, documents, and certifications are up to date and compliant with local and international requirements. S/he also works with the officers in keeping all safety equipment including life rafts, watertight doors, fire fighting pumps, sprinkler systems, and more in proper working condition.

The First, Second, and Third officers are responsible for standing four-hour watches on the bridge to maneuver the ship during exploration. They also serve as safety officers coordinating emergency situation management and training the crew and Corps of Exploration how to handle different situations at sea. Officers also use ship equipment to plan voyages including assessing weather conditions and safely navigating around other vessels and hazards in the same area or during science operations. 

Electro-Technical Officer

The Electro-Technical Officer (ETO) is responsible for understanding and overseeing electrical equipment and systems onboard Nautilus. The ETO maintains and repairs electrical components on the bridge and in the engine room like generators, radios, electronic navigation echo sounders, Gyro compass, Weather Fax, RADAR system, and satellite communications. This crew member assists others in maintaining circuitry and basic electric needs like heat, air conditioning, and emergency systems including emergency switches, fire suppression alarms and detectors.  Similar careers include electrician, systems engineer, electrical engineer, and various other technology jobs.

Chief Engineer & Motormen 

The Chief Engineer is the senior member of the engine department. Together with a team, the Chief Engineer is responsible for all work in the engine room maintaining and keeping watch over the ship’s propulsion systems. Nautilus uses its main engine during seafloor mapping surveys and transits. While on station for ROV dives the ship is maneuvered by a dynamic positioning system propelled by the bow thruster and a jet pump. The motormen carry out scheduled maintenance and troubleshoot these systems to keep the ship in operation. This team also oversees the operation of the three generators which supply electricity to the ship’s engine, ROVs, and all power for day-to-day aspects of living on the ship.  

Bosun & Able Seamen

The Bosun is the senior member of the deck department and is responsible for maintenance regarding the hull and working decks. The Bosun and deck team clean, paint, and maintain the vessel's hull, as well as perform preventative maintenance. When Nautilus leaves and returns to port you can see the Bosun and deck team handling all of the docking lines which secure the ship to the pier. Able Seamen (called ABs) are multi-skilled members of the crew. They perform various duties cleaning the ship, repairing equipment on deck or caring for the hull. ABs are also tasked with many jobs in handling emergency situations including working on the firefighting team and helping to launch lifeboats. ABs help the ship while in port with loading on all the fuel, water, and supplies the ship needs for each expedition. 

Cooks & Steward/ess 

Aboard Nautilus, the three-person hospitality team has one of the most demanding jobs — making sure the whole ship of 47 people is well fed! The two Cooks and one Steward/ess work closely together to organize and prepare three square meals and a snack every day in the ship’s small galley, or kitchen. The Cooks are responsible for ordering supplies and ensuring the ship is well stocked with fresh produce, frozen food, and dried goods for each expedition, as well as extra emergency supplies. The Steward/ess also ensures common spaces like the mess (communal eating room), heads (ship bathrooms), and lounge are kept tidy and stocked with supplies.

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Ocean Exploration Trust

Career Pathways

Maritime professionals are trained at technical schools and dedicated colleges known as maritime academies. Maritime professionals have a thorough understanding of logistics, navigation, safety, and maritime law. Crew members have varied skill sets from leadership and communication skills to culinary arts to administrative abilities. It’s important to also have problem-solving skills, the ability to keep a cool head in emergency situations and to be able to thrive working under pressure. After earning a degree or certification, gaining experience in the field over time can upgrade certifications to qualify for work on larger ships. Degrees, certifications, and experiences for these careers include: marine science, marine engineering, navigation, fire fighting, computer science, electronics, and military training.