At Sea: Paths to Becoming an Oceanographer

Director's Choice

Have you ever wondered if you would like to become an Oceanographer? Or what paths you can take to be involved in this exciting field as a researcher, engineer, or even a pilot of an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) diving >15,000 feet beneath the oceans’ surface? During the UW VISIONS’17 sea-going expedition, Kevin Eyer, a teacher at the Kingston Middle School, explored these questions with participants on this 36-day cruise supported by the National Science Foundation and the University of Washington.

Twenty-three undergraduate and graduate students participated in this offshore expedition, focused on maintaining the National Science Foundations' cutting edge underwater cabled observatory, which is operated and maintained by the UW. The students stood watches in the ROV control room where they directly observed underwater 700°F hot springs at ocean depths of 5000 ft, plumes of methane bubbles rising from the seafloor, and amazing life forms that live in perpetual darkness. They gained experience working on the deck of the 274 ft long global class research ship the R/V Revelle, which hosted the ROV. The students also learned about and participated in ship operations working side by side UW researchers and engineers, and they developed their own research and outreach projects. Kevin was one of three educators that  participated on the cruise.  VISIONS is an annual at-sea experiential program through the School of Oceanography that has allowed >100 undergraduate students access to the deep sea.