Un­der­wa­ter ca­reers

Your dream job could be one that takes you be­low sea level


De­spite our (give or take) 7,641 is­lands, an es­ti­mated 26,000 sq. km. of coral reef area, over 432,000 ship calls from both do­mes­tic and for­eign ves­sels, and sea-re­lated in­dus­tries that pro­vide liveli­hood to mil­lions, pur­su­ing a ma­rine-re­lated ca­reer still seems to be a low pri­or­ity among stu­dents deciding on a col­lege de­gree. There also seems to be a short­age of spe­cial­ized cour­ses par­tic­u­lar to th­ese ca­reers. Here are some pro­fes­sions to con­sider:


Ac­cord­ing to Christo­pher Madri­gal, chief of the Ma­rine De­vel­op­ment and Ocean Af­fairs Unit, the coun­try is in dire need of phys­i­cal, chem­i­cal, and bi­o­log­i­cal oceanog­ra­phers. If you are in­ter­ested in study­ing ma­rine ecosys­tem dy­nam­ics, cur­rents and waves, the ge­ol­ogy of the sea floor, and how plate tec­ton­ics af­fect the ocean, oceanog­ra­phy cov­ers all the phys­i­cal and bi­o­log­i­cal as­pects in­volved in this line of work. The gov­ern­ment is cur­rently build­ing a pool of ex­perts and spe­cial­ists in this field, with job op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able for those who are qual­i­fied. For those who pre­fer a dif­fer­ent work en­vi­ron­ment, there are sev­eral sci­en­tific in­sti­tu­tions and non­govern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions here and abroad that of­fer grants.

Mar­itime Lawyers

There are only a few lawyers who spe­cial­ize in ad­mi­ralty law or mar­itime law in the Philip­pines. “What we have are mar­itime lawyers who spe­cial­ize in com­mer­cial mar­itime law, but we have very few who are ex­perts in in­ter­na­tional pol­icy and mar­itime pol­icy,” says Madri­gal.

With the preva­lence of mar­itime dis­putes such as the Scar­bor­ough Shoal con­flict and the more re­cent Ben­ham Rise is­sue, pro­fi­ciency in

nav­i­ga­tional rights and in­ter­na­tional laws gov­ern­ing diplo­matic re­la­tion­ships has never been as nec­es­sary.

Ge­o­graphic In­for­ma­tion Spe­cial­ists

The Na­tional Map­ping and Re­source In­for­ma­tion Au­thor­ity (NAMRIA) needs in­di­vid­u­als with skills in Ge­o­graphic In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems and Hy­dromap­ping. Ac­cord­ing to the En­vi­ron­ment Science web­site, this com­puter-based method al­lows one to over­lay maps and datasets and query them in terms of spa­tial-re­la­tion­ships to each other, help­ing ex­perts an­a­lyze data from dif­fer­ent lay­ers in one look. As cited in the Na­tional Ge­o­graphic site, th­ese maps can be used by bi­ol­o­gists to track an­i­mal mi­gra­tion pat­terns and by city of­fi­cials in plan­ning re­sponse to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

Mar­itime Eco­nomic Spe­cial­ists

“We’re mov­ing to­wards redefin­ing the par­a­digm of de­vel­op­ment—from a ter­res­trial one to a mar­itime­cen­tered one. We are in dire need of peo­ple with a co­her­ent un­der­stand­ing of mar­itime de­vel­op­ment,” says Madri­gal. Strik­ing a bal­ance be­tween en­vi­ron­men­tal, so­cial, and eco­nomic fac­tors, in or­der to reach a sus­tain­able and pro­duc­tive res­o­lu­tion, there’s a call for ex­perts with a deep un­der­stand­ing of a holis­tic ap­proach to mar­itime and ma­rine is­sues.

Other op­por­tu­ni­ties call for ma­rine bi­ol­o­gists who can sur­vey ma­rine life and also dis­cover hereto­fore un­known crea­tures liv­ing deep in our oceans. Un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phy, although quite an ex­pen­sive pur­suit, is also use­ful in doc­u­ment­ing the cur­rent state of life un­der­wa­ter.

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