Mr Alastair McCallien

Mr Alastair McCallien

Lecturer in Navigation (Education)

School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

Alastair lectures in Marine Navigation and Maritime Science, in a busy but friendly department. Currently he is responsible for helping to develop modules within the course; speaking with prospective parents and students; liaising with our colleagues in the maritime industry; lecturing and taking the students on the water (for many this is their first experience of life at sea and quite often this part of the course is the most popular!) As well as the obvious day to day academic roles, it is also a crucial time where both students and Alastair are developing a professional relationship, which it is hoped continues once they have left University. Taught Modules: • Coastal Navigation • Voyage Planning and Meteorology • Marine Techniques • Law • Problem solving in the marine environment • Marine Honours Project


Qualifications and Experience: MSc Coastal Engineering, University of Plymouth, 2009 BSc Environmental Science, University of Plymouth, 1997 Background Prior to joining Plymouth University Alastair worked for many years as a freelance shallow water hydrographic surveyor/skipper, often he led many surveys specialising in installation, calibration and operation of multibeam and single beam sonars and ancillary inter phasing software. Amongst the more unusual jobs he has undertaken was the challenge to install £1/2 million of equipment on to a vessel 5m long whilst protecting the electronics from water damage and carrying out a successful survey. His work has taken him all over Europe and whilst some work was on vessels of 40m in length, routinely he worked on vessels up to 24m. During this time he managed a local survey company, which highlighted the need to quickly develop a business sense so the company would continue to be successful. The work was varied and pressured and included liaising with external clients so to provide turnkey hydrographic survey solutions, balancing a need to overhaul survey equipment whilst fulfilling hire requirements and general accountability for budgetary decisions. It was a challenging, fun and very informative time and one he was grateful to have before joining Plymouth University. Amongst the vessels Alastair has skippered was the University’s own survey vessel Falcon Spirit a versatile 14m catamaran, previous to this he skippered survey vessels for Environment Agency and for several hydrographic companies. The responsibilities were varied and included • Safety of personnel and equipment • Enforcement of environmental regulations • Commercial surveys • Hydrographic surveys • ADCP surveys - current and tidal flows • Water sampling, used for bathing water analysis, sewage effluent discharge • Core sampling of the sea bed • Installation of environmental monitoring buoys • Filming for TV • Catching poachers • Training of personnel in the use of small commercial vessels • Refitting of small commercial vessels. He is licenced to skipper vessels of up to 24m in length and 150 miles from a safe haven (port); the ability to both carry out hydrographic surveys and then to switch roles to skipper is fairly unusual and one which has been very useful over the years. Previously he has been involved with installing prototype wave electricity generation buoys, tidal turbines and off-shore wind farms. He has also worked on numerous other land and sea based projects.

Teaching interests

Responsible for the 1st year intake, acting as a point of contact for any 1st year, he takes an active interest in checking on their attendance and overall performance.

Research interests

Areas of interest include motion sickness on vessels and testing of the suitability and performance of common safety equipment available to both Small Commercial Vessels and the personal water craft users.