3 careers in the sea

Published on August 31st, 2012
3 careers in the sea

Love the ocean? Get one of these jobs and you’ll get paid to be around it every day…

1. Oceanography
Ever wondered why the sea tastes salty? Become an Oceanographer and you’ll find the answer to this and all sorts of other fascinating questions…

Oceanography is the scientific study of the ocean, and it covers a wide range of topics, include marine organisms (the things that live in the sea) and ecosystem dynamics (how they interact), as well as ocean currents and waves, plate tectonics and the geology of the ocean floor.

Oceanographers blend many different disciplines, including Life Sciences, Chemistry, Geology, Meteorology and Physics. For this reason, you’ll need to work hard in Maths and Physical Science at school, so you can get into Oceanography after school. You’ll need to complete a three-year BSc (Bachelor of Science) degree, followed by a one-year Honours degree. UCT is the only South African institution that offers the full course.

2. Marine Biology
Can you imagine breathing underwater for hours? Find out how animals, plants and other underwater organisms do it by becoming a Marine Biologist…

Just as the name suggests, Marine Biology is the scientific study of the organisms, or living creatures, in the ocean (or in any other saltwater environment, such as wetlands), as well as their relationship with the environment. In other words, it’s the ideal career for someone who loves animals and the ocean.

If you want to get into Marine Biology after school, we suggest you start working very hard in Maths and Physical Science. You’ll need to complete a BSc degree (three years), followed by a one-year Honours degree. Rhodes University, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and UCT offer this course.

3. Marine Geology
The ocean covers 70% of the Earth’s entire surface, but some parts of it are so deep and inaccessible that we still don’t know what goes on down there! If you’re interested in the uncovering the Earth’s deepest, darkest secrets (literally), you might be fascinated by a career in Marine Geology.

Marine Geology is the study of rocks under the sea and the processes that created them. It’s an important field of research for the military industry (because they need to send submarines dow there), as well as the mining industry (you’d be surprised what gets mined from the ocean floor). You could even get into maritime diamond mining, which involves sucking diamonds up from the sea bed!

To get into Marine Geology, you’ll need to do Maths and Physical Science at school – and the better your marks, the better your chances of getting in to the course at university. Only UCT offers a full course in Marine Geology, but you can study mining at Wits University, or Engineering at various South Afrian universities.


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Credit: image from Flickr/akabilk