There is no typical day at work as an observer. AIS at the time of this review, has a contract to deploy observers on the smaller fishing boats in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. Days can either be spent in port waiting for another boat assignment or out at sea collecting data.
Time in port is usually spent with other observers who enjoy a myriad of activities such as hiking or sports during the daytime and going out to dinner or to a bar at night. At sea, a majority of the time is spent collecting and analyzing data. At sea, an observer can spend anywhere from 6 to 15 hours a day sampling and analyzing data.
Management comes either from AIS, who tell the observers where to go, coordinate their trips, and tell them which boat to board, and from the National Marine Fisheries Service who receive and review observer data and are normally on hand to answer any questions that might arise that are not covered in the observer manual.
The hardest part of the job is not working 15+ hour days at times, but being away from home and family for over 3 months. Observers working for AIS are sent out on 90 day deployments that have them move around the Gulf of Alaska, far from their normal family and friends.
The most enjoyable part of the job is the scenery. Alaska is a beautiful state and, when the opportunity arises, it is extremely enjoyable to explore the countryside.
Good pay, great benefits, nice scenery
occasional long days/weeks. long times away from home