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  • Zodiac Driver?

    Hi,
    Right this may be the wrong place to be looking but i'm really interesting in coming to Antarctica for part of my GAP year and this seems like a good place to start my search for a way of getting there!
    I'm taking my full Powerboat licence soon so would be a fully qualified Zodiac driver, is there any way of finding jobs on a expedition boat somehow???
    Gebs

  • #2
    Re: Zodiac Driver?

    Hi Gebs and welcome to the board.

    The majority of us who post here have been to Antarctica as a part of a national research programme and not as crew on a tourist boat. There may be someone who can help, but not so likely here.

    My guess is that driving a boat is just one a range of skills that you would need for such a job on a tourist boat. You should contact the tour comapnies directly, or search for their recruitment information on the web.

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    • #3
      Re: Zodiac Driver?

      Hi there, thanks for the quick reply, right well I think that helps a lot, I"ve contacted Zegrham Expeditions and now am waiting for a reply. How would a student be able to visit Antarctica? It sounds like a fasinating place so I must try and visit it!
      Toby

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      • #4
        As Paul said, most of us have been to Antarctica (or in my case, am in Antarctica) with government programs. These programs generally prefer to use their own nationals, but that is not firm.

        There are a number of jobs down here that don't require too much specialist training, and your familiarity with motorboats may be a selling point even if it would not be your primary job. Also, the people who come down here are typically either young (haven't started a family yet) or old (retired from their regular jobs), with a few middle-aged tradesmen like myself - so your youth is not necessarily a problem, as long as you are at least 18.

        However, summer season is coming soon, and it is rather late to be applying now - but not quite hopeless. Typically, you will want to apply for these jobs by April, or May at latest. Occasionally they have trouble finding the people they need and recruit them later, but these are usually professionals or people who have already been down.

        Do you mind telling us your nationality?

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        • #5
          Re: Zodiac Driver?

          I'm British but I don't know if or how that would help me get some work, is there such thing as short term employment in Antarctica?
          The time that I would be looking for would be next year, correct me if I'm wrong that the summer season runs from the opposite to the British Summer?
          And yes I will be over 18 as well, I know of the UK base on an island of the pennisula where some cruise ships stop off, and have though about it but I can't see myself staying on a minute island for six months with six people in one room!
          What does everyone do out there?
          Regards,
          Toby

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          • #6
            If you are British, your best bet is probably with the British program, which Paul and Drummy doubtless know more about than I do.

            That said, because Britain has maintained close ties with New Zealand, Australia, Canada and South Africa, that may open up other opportunities for you as well. I know that New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa have stations in Antarctica. I don't know of any Canadian program, but Kenn Borek Air, which operates out of Calgary, Alberta, provides services to both the U.S. Antarctic Program and some private groups.

            I expect that these national programs and the Canadian company favor their own respective nationals, so non-specialized jobs may be difficult to get with them. However, skilled slots are sometimes difficult to fill, and if you have a skill that one of these countries needs that may greatly increase your chances. I do know that New Zealand's Scott Base has personnel from England, Scotland, Australia, and Canada at present, and due to the U.S. program's close relationship with New Zealand there are almost as many Kiwis at McMurdo Station this year as there are at Scott Base, as well as several Canadians. Besides that, I know the U.S. program has hired or hosted personnel from Zimbabwe, Japan, Sweden, the Netherlands, and France.

            In any case, you have a number of options, and the more skills you have the more options you have. Your skills with boats may be quite useful at one of the many stations on the Peninsula (which includes the USAP's Palmer Station).

            If you are really interested, make your interest known to prospective employers early and often. There are lots of people who apply on a whim, not so many who are really serious and will follow through.

            You are correct that seasons here are opposite from those in Britain. There may still be a slim chance of getting a job for this coming summer season (roughly October to February once you get further south), but it is late enough that you will probably be looking at the 2010-2011 season. Stations on the Peninsula may have different schedules, as personnel can get in and out year round.

            Most jobs are seasonal, and mostly summer season, but expect to put in long hours while you are here.

            If you are concerned about the size of the station, consider that there are stations of many sizes - from those with 4 or 6 people to McMurdo Station which peaks at over 1200 during its 5 month summer season. If you think you would have difficulty at a small station, you probably will - so find someplace a little larger, or with a shorter season.

            Best of luck.

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            • #7
              Re: Zodiac Driver?

              Given your age, experience and how long you'd like to spend in Antarctica I think your best bet is maybe as crew on one of the supply ships.

              Boat driving is a skill that several people on any base with boats would be expected to have. As well as a boat man, there may be marine scientists, the base commander, diving officer who could also be able to drive a boat along with others maybe who have an interest in learning. So in itself this is very unlikely to help you find a job on an Antarctic base.

              However as a general crew member, it may be an additional skill that is useful to you. I'm not sure about the regulations or qualifications required, you would have to Google that and research it further.

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