Dave Wade, Marine Navigator on board the Balder

“Over the past thirteen years I have worked as a Marine Navigator, Dimensional Control Specialist, and Land Surveyor. Of these three disciplines, I have enjoyed the first one the most”, Wade Dawe (34) from Newfoundland tells us about his background. He first went to sea on a professional basis at the age of 23: on board a converted fishing boat, towing a seismic streamer. Since then he has spent a lot of time at sea, particularly in North American waters, though he has also been to Trinidad and Ireland.

“I first heard of Atlas DOOR in 1997, when I was still employed by Fugro. I met Cindy Penney of the St. John office, and my first job for Atlas DOOR was in April 2005. Since August 2006, I have worked primarily onboard the Deepwater Construction Vessel ‘Balder’, one of the crane vessels of Heerema Marine Contractors. I have been involved in projects concerning the installation of PLETs, pipelines, and Steel Catenary Risers (SCR’s). Many of these projects were carried out at water depths of 2,500m, and occasionally we have created new records because of this”.


“Working as Marine Navigator on board the Balder, I am closely involved with the Captain, Chief Officer, and Superintendent, to ensure the exact locations of vessels, tugs, and ROVs. We use LBL acoustic positioning systems on a regular basis, in order to determine our position as accurately as possible. At a depth of over 2,500m this is a very tricky job. It can take hours just for the crane hook to reach the seafloor...”


“The great thing about this job is that it is never the same thing twice. It is challenging and unique, with different software and equipment every time. It also involves working with different people every time. There are about 300 crew members!  Entertainment after working hours is easy to come by: we have a swimming pool, a gym, a wireless internet connection, and a well-stocked video library. Occasionally, being away from home for a long time is not pleasant, but then again, it is such a good feeling to come home after six or seven weeks away.”