Profile: The Icebreaker's Engineer Officer


From:  Haley Smith Kingsland, Stanford University





Laura King (Photo by Haley Smith Kingsland)



Describe your job on the Healy. What’s a typical day like for you?


As the Engineer Officer onboard the Healy, I’m responsible for the operation and maintenance of the most complex and technologically advanced power plant within the Coast Guard. I also provide support for all shipboard scientific hardware and equipment.


A typical day is full of paperwork, meetings, juggling what gets fixed when, scheduling maintenance and drills so as not to interfere with science operations, and arranging for parts and repairs once we’re back in Seattle.


What brought you to the Healy, and what do you like best about your work?


I was stationed onboard the Healy in 2004-2007 as the Assistant Engineer Officer. I enjoyed it so much that I came back for a second tour. Plus I get extra money for sea pay! I really enjoy meeting all the scientists, learning what they do, and taking them on tours of the engineering spaces so they can see what I do.


How does this science mission on the Healy compare to other Coast Guard missions you’ve served on? What do you find most interesting about the science party’s presence on the ship?


I’ve been stationed on two High Endurance Cutters: Alaska Patrols (Fisheries and Law Enforcement) and South Patrols (Drug and Migrant Interdiction and Search and Rescue). We only went out for short periods of time.


Working with the scientists aboard the Healy is so different. The science party is our customer onboard the Healy whereas on other cutters, the customer is the U.S. government. We get to know the scientists and learn what they do and how their work helps the grand scheme of things for Arctic exploration. In 2004, the scientists found a mountain in the ocean and named it Mount Healy and in 2005 the scientists found several species of jellyfish that had never been documented. We also circumnavigated North America. Only two other Coast Guard Cutters can claim that and you can’t do that as a white hull sailor.


When you’re ashore, what do you like to do for fun?


I like to ride my motorcycle with my husband, ride my bicycle with my daughters, read, swim, and go for long walks. I love to hang out with my husband David, our two girls Britney (8) and Sarah (6), and our Corgi Barbie. It’s so neat seeing things through their eyes. Britney can’t wait until she is old enough to ride on Mama’s Boat for an overnight trip. When Sarah was asked, “What does your Mama do?” Her reply was: “She works on a big red boat in the Arctic, making money, and she gets to see real live polar bears from her ship.”