Working at sea

Life on board

Life on board a research vessel is exciting, busy and challenging. Unlike a land based work environment, voyage participants cannot go home after work; the vessel is their workplace and home for the period they are away.

Working hours

The scientific party on the vessel typically operates two 12 hour shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – there are no weekend breaks on a voyage.

Sleeping arrangements

Cabins are mostly twin share and voyage participants working alternating 12 hour shifts often share a cabin.  This means only one person will be sleeping in the cabin at a time.

Daily routine

It is normal to take several days to become accustomed to the routine and motion of the ship.

Meals and snacks

The mess room is where you eat and take tea breaks and is a great place to socialise. Food is plentiful and high quality, so you will not go hungry.  For safety reasons, food should not be stored or consumed in scientific areas on the vessel.

Snack and drinks are also available 24 hours a day for those hungry or thirsty between meal breaks.

Moving about

The vessel is a moving platform so you need to be careful walking around, especially if you are carrying something.  A good rule to follow is to always have three points of contact, especially when going up or down stairs.

Special care needs to be taken outside and you should not go outside at night without someone knowing where you are.  Where possible, avoid going outside in bad weather conditions.

Briefings and meetings

There will be briefings, musters, toolbox meetings and team meetings.  Many of these meetings are mandatory.  You will need to be punctual as the vessel runs to a schedule and delays can be costly to work programs.

Updated: 27 November 2014