CD 157: Investigating the submarine canyons off Portugal


Crew profiles...

Steve Whittle

Marine Engineer

I spent some time in the early part of our watch chatting with Steve about his job on the stern of the ship in the sunshine. Steve is part of the technical support team and has worked in marine engineering for all of his working life.

What are the main features of your job?

Back at SOC my main job is maintaining scientific instruments, like sidescan sonar, and the sampling gear which gets them into the water such as the winches.” 

I had just been observing Steve and his team pulling in a half ton core sampler from 5000m deep. Not an easy job when the boat is rocking from side to side. [See the pictures on the daily diary].

How did you get into this job?

I left school at 15 to work as an apprentice in the Portsmouth Royal Dockyard. This took four years of on the job training. I then went to work with the shipbuilders, Vosper Thornycroft, in Southampton”.

Steve worked here for six years and then went to live in Spain whilst working at the dockyard in Gibraltar. He then joined IOS, the forerunners of SOC and RVS and has been with them for 20 years!

What is the best part of your job?

Without hesitation Steve focuses on the wide range of activities that he is involved in.

“Every trip is different, one trip we may be sampling, the next dealing with mooring buoys”

Steve also works in the land based workshops at SOC in Southampton. The other side of the job he enjoys is the travel.

“You get to see parts of the world you wouldn’t normally go to – Alaska, Antarctica and the Arctic.”

What is the worst part of your job?

“Missing the kids grow up.”

Steve has a wife and three lovely daughters back at his home in Portsmouth. It’s a good job that Steve is not at sea full time. When at home he has little time for hobbies as he finds his time is taken up doing DIY and gardening.

If someone was thinking about following a similar career, what advice would you give them?

“Give it a go. You will always have skills that you can use in other jobs”

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April 2004
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