Hawaii Teacher on Board

By Naidah Gamurot

Position: Ship's Steward

Location: Galley of R/V Thomas G. Thompson

Date: October 24, 1998

Dan - Ship's Steward (L. Dolby)

Describe some of the daily responsibilities and daily activities of the ship's steward?

The ship's steward is responsible for ordering all the food and preparing all the menus. He also helps with the cooking and the cleaning.

What are some of the skills, physical abilities, and personal characteristics someone should have if considering becoming a ship's steward?

The ship's steward needs to be friendly and get along well with people. He's in contact with people all the time. He also must be able to take criticism about his cooking. With about 40 people on board, he must try to satisfy everyone's preferences and dietary needs, balanced with what is possible to prepare.

What kinds of high school courses are recommended for someone considering this type of work?

Food nutrition or food service classes would be helpful.

What additional training is require or available after high school?

None. All the training is done on the job.

What is the job market like in this position or field?

Not very good. Only one is hired on a ship. The best way get in is to apply for a NOAA position. There are 8 permanent positions and 9 temporary. The temporary are filled on a first come, first serve basis.

What is the entry-level job for this position?

Mess attendant

What is the next higher level?

This is the highest level

What are the working hours like?

6 a.m. to 7 p.m. everyday, whether at sea or in port. There's a 1 hour break in the morning and 2 hour break in the afternoon. Everyday is a 10-hour day. They receive 2 hours of overtime daily.

In what kind of environment do you work?

Mostly in the galley.

What is the average starting salary for your job?

On the Thompson, starting base pay is $2,465. In addition to base pay, everyone on board also receives a 15% Sea Premium Pay while the ship is away from home port and 8 hours overtime at time-and-a-half for each Saturday, Sunday, and holiday while the ship is away from home. Ship's stewards also receive 2 hours of overtime a day, in addition to their regular 8 hours.

What are some positive features of your job?

Easy to save money. Is in charge of all the food.

What are some negative features of your job?

Being away from family for long periods of time. Also, the cooking goes on everyday, even in port. Many times there's even more cooking in port because they are still cooking for the scientists leaving as well as the ones coming.

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