The most important aspects of cruise planning – Katherine Heal


It’s easy to get caught up in the pace of sea going operations and not recognize all of the work it takes to plan and prepare for a cruise. Of course there is the proposal writing and requesting ship time through UNOLS. Then there is the ordering of equipment, the shipping, the permits, and a myriad of other logistical steps necessary to make an operation like this happen. After deploying a free floating array at 4 am this morning (pictured), Tara Clemente and Matt Church shared their thoughts with me on important aspects to cruise planning. Combined, Tara and Matt have served as chief scientists on somewhere in the order of 40 cruises, so I figured their insight into the matter was worth sharing. They landed on two main pieces of advice, communication and managing resources. Communication-wise, both agreed that having clear overarching goals for the cruise while balancing individual objectives were key for setting the stage for making making the most of our time at sea. They advocated for having clear lines of communication to the captain as well as the land- and sea-based marine technicians and starting those conversations early. The second aspect of managing resources is more obvious to me – as a team of scientists moving aboard a ship, we have to think carefully about the dance to get the right equipment, deck space, wires, and time to make this all come together. This involves being aware of each piece of equipment, having a clear vision of where and how it will be deployed, and recognizing the time each effort will take. Sitting in the staging bay after a full night of successful operations (ahead of schedule!), I can easily say that being prepared pays off.