Reflections of an ROV pilot

I’ve been piloting Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) for nearly 3 years now, but this trip has been different because we’re using our newest ROV, the Hylas. It's much smaller than many ROVs I’ve had the pleasure of driving, but I’ve been surprised at just how well it performs its tasks. This little robot has certainly exceeded my expectations. 

In its first dive on the kelp forests of Monterey, I was fortunate to see so many wonderful sights. My favorite moment of yesterday when we spotted that swarm of krill, with rockfish nibbling all around it. Moments like that make me appreciate the intimacy you can achieve with the ocean when piloting an ROV. Sometimes, fish are attracted by our lights and we are honored to have a small fish friend come along our vehicle for a bit.

Being an ROV pilot is a fantastic job. We get sent all around the world to go places no one has ever seen before. I’ve seen ancient shipwrecks, majestic seamountains, mud volcanoes, and active hydrothermal vents. I work with some of the best people in the business, and learn exciting lessons every day I spend on the boat. Sometimes it is tough to be away from family, but ROV piloting grants me the ability to call the deep ocean my second home.

Eric Martin
ROV Engineer / Pilot
Institute for Exploration

Immersion Program: 
JASON Learning: A Partnership of Sea Research Foundation and National Geographic