Policies & Required Reading
- Long range scheduling & planning
- Before the Cruise
- Checklist for Chief Scientist
- Checklist for Science Party
- For the Ship Crew
- Cruise Planning Questionnaire
- Cruise Synopsis
- Policies & Required Reading
- Use of Hazardous & Radioactive Materials Aboard Ship
- Data Acquisition
- Personnel Information
- Travel Requirements
- Transit Planning
- Notice To Mariners
- Shipboard/At sea
- After the Cruise
- Agent Information
- Additional Resources
The Master is responsible for the safety of all personnel aboard the vessel. Posted rules and directions are to be followed by all scientists, and special precautions should be taken when hazardous conditions exist (e.g., excessive ship motion, wet footing).
Hardhats are available and should be worn for deck work involving overhead loads, cranes, and swinging equipment.
Work vests must be worn when handling gear deployed over the side and any deck work at night.
The smooth operation of the science program requires continuous communication between science and ship personnel. Keep the bridge watch informed of your intentions at all times.
NEVER put any gear over the side without first consulting the bridge.
The scientific party is responsible for securing all gear in laboratories and science areas. Ask for assistance from one of the technicians or crew if there are questions about securing any equipment.
International Safety Management (ISM) Guidelines
New guidelines for safety aboard UNOLS vessels went into full effect on July 1, 2002. These regulations concern working conditions during oceanographic research cruises and are designed to ensure strict conformity to all existing safety standards.
The following sections of the guidelines may directly impact the science party:
Safety Shoes - Anyone working on deck with lifting equipment will need to wear approved safety shoes. It is the individual’s responsibility to obtain and wear approved safety shoes. This directly affects any overboarding activities that the science party is planning, such as CTD casts, trawls, dredging, etc.
Wet Weight Handling Equipment - According to the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR), all wet weight handling equipment must meet certain safety regulations. This certification must be documented. This is especially important for science parties that bring their own equipment to be used on the vessel, as documentation must be produced to verify compliance.
If you will be bringing Wet Weight Handling Gear (Winches, cranes, blocks, etc), please contact the Marine Resource Coordinator to help you through this documentation process. It can take some time to finish this process, so the sooner you initiate contact the better.
Portable Vans - All portable vans must meet certain criteria to be acceptable for use aboard our vessels. The UNOLS checklist can be found here.
Hazardous Material Policy
Pre-Cruise - Chief Scientist will provide to WHOI:
- A list of materials by chemical name, common name, type and classification using the Hazardous Material Inventory form.
- A listing of the neutralizing agents, buffers and/or absorbents required for the materials in the event of a spill.
- Metal or glass containers with plastic shockproof exteriors are recommended as storage containers.
Upon Boarding - Chief Scientist will provide to Master:
- An inventory of all hazardous materials brought aboard by science party.
- MSDS for all hazardous material.
Upon Departure - Scientific Party will provide to Master:
- An inventory of hazardous material showing all that has been depleted, removed ashore, or properly stored aboard for later removal.
Chemical Spill Response
- The science party must supply spill kits for large amounts and unique Hazardous Materials. This spill response material must accompany the chemicals when they come aboard.
Radioactive Material Policy
For WHOI Research personnel, prior approval by the RSO and Radiation Safety Committee is required for all work involving the use of sealed sources and/or radioactive material on board WHOI research vessels.
For Non-WHOI Research personnel who wish to conduct research under WHOI’s Radioactive Material License, prior approval by the RSO and Radiation Safety Committee is required for all work involving the use of sealed sources and/or radioactive material on board WHOI research vessels.
A Radioactive Material Use Authorization Request must be completed and submitted well in advance (a minimum of 60 days is requested) of the intended field use to allow adequate time for evaluation.
A request must be submitted for each cruise or field use .
Appendix D of the WHOI Radiation Safety Manual includes details of specific information needed for the Authorization Request.
The Research Vessel Science Coordinator may be consulted directly for specific information or advice.
All diving under the auspices of the Institution (i.e., aboard WHOI vessels or using WHOI-owned equipment) shall be conducted according to the regulations promulgated in the latest revision of the WHOI Diving Safety Manual. All research diving must be approved in advance by the Institution Diving Safety Officer (DSO) or Diving Control Board (DCB). Only those divers currently authorized by the DSO or DCB may dive under Institution auspices.
The Chief Scientist is personally responsible for ensuring that research diving activities are conducted in accordance with all applicable regulations. The Chief Scientist must supply copies of all diver credentials, completed physical examination forms, cruise diving plans and similar documents to the DSO and must nominate a Cruise Diving Supervisor (dive master) at least two weeks prior to commencement of the cruise. Specific information, requirements, and forms are available from the DSO.
The Cruise Diving Supervisor must be approved by the DSO or DCB and shall be responsible for planning, organizing, and managing the diving operations during the cruise. Other responsibilities of the Cruise Diving Supervisor are as follows:
- Submit to the DSO or DCB for approval written emergency plans for the cruise, which must include an evacuation plan to transport an injured diver to a certified recompression chamber
- Ensure, as a minimum, that there is a sufficient supply of oxygen and an appropriate type of resuscitation equipment aboard
- Plan and conduct diving emergency drills
- Ensure that a trial communication contact has been made with the Divers Alert Network and the Medical Advisory System (MAS) prior to commencement of diving operations
- Brief the ship’s Master and vessel personnel on the diving operations, emphasizing pertinent safety factors
- Submit all cruise dive logs and a detailed report of any diving-related accident, injury, or dangerous incident to the DSO as soon as possible
The Master of the vessel retains ultimate authority for all diving operations conducted from the ship, which includes terminating all diving operations if, in the Master’s judgment, conditions endanger the vessel or personnel. The Master or watch officer will relay information of dive preparations to other crew members, especially engine room personnel. The Master or watch officer must give a positive response to the research dive team before anyone leaves the ship. A small boat operated by a member of the ship's crew will be used to support diving operations. The boat operator shall be continuously aware of the diver's locations and shall maintain effective communication with the watch officer of the ship.
The Institution has established a firm policy that no alcoholic beverages of any type will be permitted on Institution operated vessels. This means that members of the scientific party shall not bring on board alcoholic beverages of any kind for consumption while on the cruise. All personnel, including scientific staff from other institutions and visitors, are affected by this regulation and must abide by it.
Under a federal ruling, all persons on board, including members of the scientific party, are subject to drug and alcohol testing for reasonable cause in the event of a “serious marine incident.”
Prior to boarding, all individuals sailing on WHOI vessels must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including applicable booster shot. WHOI Ship Operations Guidelines are developed from CDC updates, GWMMA and UNOLS Guidance. These may be updated or modified as needed. View most recent policy.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a Zero Tolerance organization. The possession or use of any controlled substance will not be tolerated. All persons on board, including members of the scientific party, are subject to drug and alcohol testing under Code of Federal Register 46 for reasonable cause in the event of a “Serious Marine Incident”. The Master, as senior representative of the Institution, has the sole responsibility and authority for such determination.
A “Serious Marine Incident”, beside the obvious physical and environmental disaster, includes any accident which results in a person being off duty for 72 or more hours. All persons directly involved are required to be tested.
All testing and the fact of a refusal to be tested must be logged in the ship’s log book.
Guest/Family Members at Sea
The Institution believes it is generally unwise for personal guests and/or members of the immediate family or household to work together, particularly under the heightened interpersonal atmosphere that exists at sea. Please read the Institution's Personal Guests and Members of Immediate Family or Household at Sea Policy on this issue.
Limited medical supplies are carried on every voyage and are administered by the Chief Mate or other person designated by the Master. Members of the crew have some degree of first aid training and CPR training. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, through UNOLS, subscribes to the services of Medical Advisory Systems, Inc. (MAS) which provides to the Master the medical advice of physicians 24 hours a day. In a medical emergency at sea, the Master retains the final responsibility and authority for treatments and actions taken.
Individuals should supply all special medication which they require during a voyage. The Master should be informed if a member of the scientific party is on medication which may cause unusual behavior or precipitate an emergency.
Personal Conduct & Harassment
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is committed to maintaining a positive working and learning environment free of illegal discrimination, harassment and intimidation. Institution scientists, administrators, managers and supervisors are expected to strongly support this effort, and all employees, postdoctoral scholars/fellows and students of the Institution are expected to support this goal.
While this policy only refers to the illegal aspects of harassment, it is as important that there be an atmosphere of professionalism at the Institution that will preclude these types of behaviors and foster a mutual respect for one another. Harassment can be blatant or subtle, printed, verbal, or physical.
Examples of conduct that can constitute illegal harassment are:
- Outright propositions/improper suggestions
- Racial or ethnic jokes, slurs, or cartoons
- Abuse, insults, or jokes concerning sexual orientation
- Touching, including pats, hugs, squeezes, brushing against, putting arms around shoulders
- Insinuations about private life or lifestyle
- Threats or promises regarding compliance with sexual behavior
- Actions or sounds - whistling, suggestive sounds, obscene gestures, display of offensive pictures
- Sexist, lewd, or obscene remarks, jokes, or cartoons
- Imbalance of attention, whether it be positive or negative, towards one employee or student based upon gender or race
- Assault - sexual or otherwise
The Master of the each WHOI vessel shall ensure every crewmember, member of the science party as well as technical staff and visitors are made aware of WHOI’s Harassment policy as part of shipboard orientation.
On the vessel, any violations to the harassment policy shall be reported to the Master, Chief Mate or Chief Scientist. Crewmembers and technicians shall report violations to the Master and members of the science party to the Chief Scientist. In the event individuals are not comfortable reporting a harassment violation to someone in their chain of command, i.e. Master for crew or Chief Scientist for Science party, they have the option of reporting to either the Master or Chief Scientist or directly to the EEO Officer in Human Resources.
Please view this brochure Harassment: Resources for Students, Postdocs, and Staff for more information.
As with any other Institution EEO policy, individuals found in violation of these guidelines are subject to disciplinary action, which can include counseling, warnings, transfers, suspensions, reductions in pay or duties, and termination of employment.
Smoking any tobacco or tobacco-like product, or using electronic nicotine or other substance delivery systems (also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-hookahs, vape devices and e-pipes) is not allowed anywhere within the interior spaces of vessels managed or operated by the Ship Operations Group. There are NO exceptions to this policy. During foul weather, at the Master’s discretion, smoking may be allowed in the aft hanger on ARMSTRONG and in the ROV hanger on ATLANTIS. At other times, smoking may be allowed on the weather decks, as long as said activity does not interfere with the general practice of good seamanship.
Underway Data Policy
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s research vessels routinely collect bathymetry, sea surface temperature, conductivity and meteorological data which are valuable for real time weather prediction applications as well as operational planning and evaluation. These data items are collected during all periods at sea utilizing permanently installed sensors maintained by the Shipboard Scientific Support Group.
The resulting data sets, along with ship position, heading and speed information are considered “operational” and not proprietary to the science party. Data sets generated during a cruise at the request of the science party will normally include these data items but they may also be available in nearly real time to persons not associated with the cruise.
The Chief Scientist for any cruise may request information on how these data items are likely to be distributed and request an exception to this policy if deemed appropriate. Please contact the Marine Operations Coordinator with questions about ship data issues.
Here are the links to available instrumentation aboard WHOI's vessels.
» R/V Atlantis Scientific Instrumentation