Ocean Technology Group Shipboard Technicians

Ocean Technology Group

Shipboard Technician Information

Two Ocean Technology Group (OTG) marine technicians sail aboard every research expedition. They are on call at all times and typically divide the day into two 12-hour periods to provide round-the-clock support. The two OTG marine technicians share responsibility for supervising back deck operations and overseeing data acquisition throughout each expedition.

Expedition Support Information

When a expedition is scheduled the OTG Tech Manager works with the Marine Operations Superintendent to identify objectives and equipment requirements. A single OTG marine technician is assigned to be the lead technician and serve as the primary point-of-contact for each expedition. The lead technician works closely with the Director, Marine Superintendent, and Principal Investigator (PI) to coordinate all science-related activities such as: pre-expedition planning, equipment availability, deck layout, dockside assistance, shipping, berthing, dates, and port accessibility.

Onboard Ship Support Information

Onboard ship, OTG technicians provide technical assistance in support of scientific shipboard operations. During mobilization, OTG technicians direct the mobilization of both shared-use and project-specific equipment, assist in the placement and proper stowage of equipment in the ship laboratories, orient the scientists within shipboard laboratories, and provide instruction in the proper utilization of shared-use equipment. At sea, the technicians work with the ship’s crew and science party to follow safe working practices on deck and during over-the-side operations. They manage the shared-use data acquisition and sampling systems on board, including the CTD, fluorometer, thermosalinograph, multibeam echosounders, gravimeter, magnetometer, bottom sampling, underway systems, ADCP, and other gear. The Kilo Moana normally collects swath bathymetry data every day at sea, with OTG technicians maintaining, operating and troubleshooting all primary multibeam software, hardware components and auxiliary input sensors. They produce sound velocity profiles and ensure data logging and archiving is occurring. The technicians also maintain the ship’s Internet connectivity via the HiSeasNet and the Fleet Broadband 500 systems. OTG technicians monitor data quality, operate and maintain the Shipboard Information System that logs and distributes data over the ship’s intranet, and troubleshoot and repair broken scientific instrumentation and ship electronics. The marine technicians also assist the ship’s command with computer and electrical problems related to ship control systems.

Post-Expedition Support Information

At the end of an expedition, the lead technician performs data quality control and archiving so the PI has a single point of contact for any data-related questions after the expedition is complete. Immediately following each expedition, a full copy of all underway data is provided to the PI and stored on OTG’s shore-side server. As an added precaution, all data on the server is routinely backed up and stored at an off-site location. The technicians assist in equipment demobilization and the Tech Manager also follows up on any comments provided by scientist-provided post-expedition assessments.

Shore-based Support Information

When not at sea, OTG is responsible for maintaining equipment, calibrating sensors, and implementing improvements suggested by scientists (consistent with budget oversight). They monitor developments in data acquisition equipment and recommend instruments to be included in proposals to replace outdated or substandard gear with new systems or software that better match the science community’s evolving needs. Technicians also participate in training courses in order to learn new and appropriate technologies that can be used to better support science operations. As schedules permit, OTG technicians also provide technical assistance, scientific diving support and serve as small boat operators for UH faculty and staff.