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Dispatch 19: 24 Hour Operations

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Fred Marin

September 30, 2019

Time at sea in the name of science is valuable, and in more ways than one.  The world of research ships is a small one and access to a research ship is hard earned by the scientists writing the research proposals.  You will find that the people that go on research ships have been on, or at least know about, virtually all of them.  When a research vessel plans an expedition, the dates are strict, and the vessel fits in as much science as possible during its time at sea.  There are always unpredictable things that can impact that time, the major one is weather.

To maximize the usage of time, expeditions will operate on a 24-hour schedule.  In the case of our expedition aboard the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, 24-hour science operations were the only way to cover all the stations.  Also, the ocean isn’t the same between day and night, even your swimming pool is different at night.  Water temperatures drop, and light has a variety of physical, chemical, and biological impacts.  For example, animals migrate at night (e.g., diel-vertical migration), and some things rest at night while others are active.  Capturing the difference between night and day in ocean measurements is important, just like time utilization.

24-hour operations feel normal here and the ship’s crew routinely works that schedule to keep the ship running and above all, safe.  On the ship, there are people sleeping at all times, so we are all diligent it doing our best to keep quite around the cabins, and the cooks prepare special meals for the night watch crew.  They do an amazing job at making a terrific variety of food, and providing lots of it!

Last updated: October 7, 2019

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