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Meet the Crew: Tasha Camel, General Vessel Assistant

A crew member standing on the deck of a NOAA ship

What is your role at NOAA and what do you do?

I started in early 2022 as a General Vessel Assistant on NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. I do general maintenance around the ship such as sanding, priming, painting, and sanitation. I also stand lookout watches under the supervision of NOAA Corp officers. I assist with rigging, line handling, and anchoring the ship. I operate deck machinery such as multiple oceanographic winches, forklifts, davits, telescopic and knuckle boom cranes. I also assist with deploying scientific equipment and small boats.

Where did you grow up? 

I was born in Norfolk, Virginia, but later moved to Miami, Florida, when my father retired from the U.S. Navy.

Where did you get your training and experience before joining NOAA? 

I received my certification from Maritime Professional Training in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As part of that training I learned personal survival techniques, first aid, CPR, basic firefighting, personal safety, and social responsibility.

What inspired you to work for NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations? 

My father and husband were both in the U.S. Navy, so I always dreamed of doing something in the maritime industry. I wanted to make a difference in the world. With all the research we do and data we collect on NOAA ships, we are doing just that. 

What was one of your favorite missions or experiences? 

Some of my favorite missions have included dive operations and working with remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs. On one of our ROV missions, we explored a shipwreck site that had never been explored before.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work for NOAA? 

My advice would be to go for it! Especially if you are fairly new to the maritime industry. I have the pleasure of being a crew member aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. (We won ship of the year for NOAA in 2023!) One of the best things about working for NOAA, and being aboard the Nancy Foster is the comradery. Even though I was brand new to the maritime industry, no one aboard my ship treated me differently, and everyone jumped in to lend a hand in my training. I have since furthered my education through NOAA, and now I am qualified as an Able Seaman. It sometimes can be difficult being away from your loved ones, but once a mission is completed it is very rewarding to see what we have accomplished. 

What do you like to do outside of work? 

I love to travel, and see new places. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.