January 20 Interview
Dave Sims, Shipboard Science Support Group Technician
Conducted by Alison Sipe, Graduate Student,
University of Delaware College of Marine Studies
Hometown: Seminole, Texas
Favorite musical groups: Parrot Head Music... Jimmy Buffet and Peter
Mayer, Christine Lavin, and Robert Earkeen
Favorite movies: Easy Rider, The Big Lebowsky, and Honey Suckle Rose
Hobbies: Playing his guitar and writing songs, fishing, and attending concerts.
General job description: Dave takes care of the shipboard scientific equipment, including the CTD (Conductivity
Temperature and Depth) instrument, Pingers, the SeaBeam high-resolution multi-beam depth recorder, and many computers.
Dave also runs the deck during any scientific deck operations such as coring. His main job is to assist the
scientists with their electronic and mechanical needs while at
sea - helping to ensure the science gets done.
How did you choose your current occupation? Dave has many friends that have worked at Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution, and they recommended that he look into this job. He has spent time in the Navy, as a Navy spouse
(Mr. Mom), in medical equipment repair, teaching scuba, in various computer jobs, and also has been involved in
a submarine tour operation in Hawaii. When the timing was right to pursue a job at sea, he looked into opportunities
for a job with the SSSG. Getting involved with oceanographic research has been something Dave has always thought
he wanted to do. He recalls reading about these deep-sea missions as a child.
Best aspect of job: Dave enjoys that every oceanographic cruise brings new interesting and fun people
to the ship. The job changes daily; with fresh faces and new problems to solve, life certainly does not grow
stale. Dave enjoys interacting with the scientists as they all learn new information on the research cruises.
Most of all, you can't beat wearing tee shirts, shorts, and tennis shoes to work.
Worst aspect of job: Sometimes the ship sails to colder climates, and unfortunately, long pants are necessary. Also,
depending on the time of year and ocean basin, the seas can become rough and make for a difficult work environment. Other
than that, it seems ironic that most things break and need your undivided attention when you happen to be flat
on your back with the flu bug. There is always work that needs to be done to support the scientific research, and
it is difficult to call in sick while on the ship.
How many days per year do you spend at sea? Dave is on the ship for about nine months out of the
year. One of the perks associated with his job is that he has lots of time off from work in which he can
What's next? Dave enjoys his current position very much, and hopes to stick with it for a long
while. Next year he plans to buy a small camper and travel all around America. He comments that you
can travel all around the world, but there is so much to see in our own country. He will toss his guitar
into the camper and write songs as he rambles down random roads that will undoubtedly lead him to interesting places. When
you have a month off, this kind of freedom is possible.