Each vessel carries a captain, three mates, a chief scientist, three assistant scientists, an engineer, and a steward. The mates and assistant scientists pair up together to lead a watch of about eight students. The mate runs the deck, teaches navigation and sail handling, and ensures the safety of all on deck. All mates are required to have some level of Coast Guard licensing. The assistant scientist runs the lab, leads gear deployments, and assists with student projects. Most scientists have master's degrees or significant outside experience. The steward provides three meals and three snacks a day for over 30 people onboard the boat. The engineer is responsible for maintaining the engine room and ship's systems.
Throughout the course of the year, we hire about 80 people to fill these positions onboard the two vessels. Crew members usually stay on board for two SEA Semesters in a row, or a Semester coupled with short trips or a yard period. Most crew members return year after year. Many are alumni of the program, but this is definitely not a prerequisite for working onboard.
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