Bill Fanning

Bill has been the Ship’s Oceanographic Technician aboard the R/V Endeavor for going on 24 years now.  He explained that the job of the Tech aboard the vessel is to turn a ship into a lab.  They are responsible for all technology aboard as well as assisting the visiting scientists in attaining their goals of study and collection.  Basically, on any given day Bill is on call for everything from modems and printers, to handling and operating the CTD and its data transmitting devices.  The Tech needs to know how all the instruments that have been brought aboard for means of study operate, and how they need to configure the lab in order to accommodate the needs of the scientists.

 He was born in Briarcliff, NY but now resides in Westerly, RI when he is not at sea or traveling, which is close to the ship.  Bill has been on or around the water most of his life, starting out at a young age working on sailboats.  He then went to Kenyon College where he received his B.A. in Marine Biology.  He had the opportunity to participate in a Sea Semester aboard the Westward, a large sailing vessel used for a field studies for college students.  After graduation, Bill returned to working on boats, from running supplies to Trinidad from the Miami River, to yacht deliveries to Hawaii, San Diego, Florida, Tahiti…the list goes on.

After 8 or 9 years in that line of work, he chose to return to school as a student of Mechanical Engineering.  He balanced working as a programmer for an environmental company and attending school.  When he felt it was about time for a change, he dropped off his resume on every open desk in the admissions office at Rhode Island University.  One of the staff members told him there were a ton of computers being unloaded that day for the Endeavor, and all would need programming.  Bill walked over, shared his experiences, and was hired part time as he finished his senior year of Marine Technician schooling.  Once he graduated, he was hired full-time aboard the Endeavor, and other than a few short-term jobs in Norway, he has been on with this crew ever since.

Bill enjoys traveling as a hobby, and as a bonus of this career.  One of the things he likes most about this job is the opportunity to be a part of international cruises.  So far he has been to Hawaii, Brazil, Norway, and many parts of Europe.  When he takes a personal leave of absence, he has spent weeks at a time exploring and hiking in South East Asia, Spain, and has plans on the horizon to experience other countries as well as parts of the US in the future.