3 Ocean-Going Jobs for the Adventurous

By: Julailah Wahid

The world’s vast oceans are home to glorious sunsets, jumping dolphins and Captain Jack Sparrows. Even so, any professional on a boat will tell you that the sea can be the ultimate test of both physical and mental strength. Here are three of the most exciting oceangoing professions from around the world:

Alaskan Crab Fishermen
Crab fishing occurs in the fall and winter seasons, where approximately 250 crab fishing boats congregate on Dutch Harbor, Alaska, in search of Alaskan king crab.

To catch the enormous (and delectable) crabs, fishermen use 700-pound steel traps or ‘pots’ baited with ground herring, sardines, squid and cod, which are dropped 400 feet below the ocean's surface where the king crab reside. A hydraulic system is used to lift them back up, after which the fishermen will keep only male king crabs, tossing back females and juveniles into the sea.

The fatality rate among the fishermen has been estimated to be about 80 times that of the average worker, making crab fishing one of the deadliest jobs in the world. More than 80 per cent of the fatalities are due to hypothermia or drowning. Crippling injuries from accidents with heavy machinery and gear on board are also a real risk.

Naval Officers
Equipped with advanced technology and combat systems, naval officers play a vital role in safeguarding a country’s territorial waters. And in Singapore, our RSN Naval Officers aren’t just tethered to surface vessels – they get to work on a wide variety of fleet assets such as submarines, unmanned surface vehicles, aircraft, and other advanced weaponry. As commanders of sophisticated warships and leaders of dedicated crew, RSN Naval Officers can be in charge of the following:

• Navigation (Navigating the ship safely through busy sea lanes)
• Gunnery (Oversee the maintenance of ordnance material and ammunition, carrying out gun drills and gunnery training)
• Communications (Takes charge of ship-to-ship or ship-to-shore communications during exercises and operations)

Wreck Divers
Wreck divers plunge at least 130 feet into the ocean to explore shipwrecks and aircraft wrecks. These often form artificial reefs, creating a habitat for a variety of marine life, and such wreckage often features many interesting parts and machinery up close. Wreckage often has an exciting or tragic history, and is rich in underwater cultural heritage that provides first-hand insight into our maritime heritage and maritime history.

Exhilarating as it may be, wrecks can often be snagged with fishing lines or nets, and the structure may be fragile and prone to collapse due to prolonged submersion. Many intriguing or well-preserved wrecks are in deeper water, and deep diving precautions and special training and equipment are required to minimise risks.

Some notable wreck discoveries include:
• The Titanic, the 46,000-ton "unsinkable" ocean liner that struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage in 1912 and sank within hours to the bottom of the North Atlantic.
• Graf Zeppelin, Nazi Germany's only aircraft carrier, which was sunk as a target by the Soviet Navy in 1947.
• HMS Victory, a famous British warship sunk by a violent storm in 1744 and discovered 330 feet deep in the English Channel.

Do you know of other interesting oceangoing professions? Share with us in the comment box below!

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