March 29, 2016

Meet MIT Sea Grant Research Engineer Michael Sacarny

Mike spent most of his adult life as a systems and software engineer, working in a variety of industries, including renewable energy, biopharmaceutical manufacturing, automotive test, radioactive waste processing, biomedical devices, and PC audio. About ten years ago, in order to serve his country and improve his skills as a mariner, he joined the U.S.Coast Guard Auxiliary, the volunteer branch of the Coast Guard. His first activity in the Auxiliary was as an Observer on commercial whale watches. In the years following, he became qualified as an instructor, vessel safety examiner, radio operator, and boat crew member. One of his students in a boating safety class worked at MIT Sea Grant, and through him Mike became acquainted with the AUV Lab, leading to a volunteer role, and eventual staff position.

He has been a Research Engineer in the AUV Lab since 2013, participating in the Deep-Water Corals Expedition of that year as sonar operator, ROV operator, and navigator. Since then, he has worked on numerous marine projects, including subaquatic vegetation surveys and development of REx 4, our 500 lb autonomous surface vessel. Mike spent most of last summer deploying REx on the Charles River and Dorchester Bay, improving its capabilities for automated marine research. Currently, he is leading a project to chart the lower Charles River for the boating community and working on a new propulsion system for REx 4.

Last month Mike received the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Nat and Deloris Brady Award for Public Education.

'As I reflect on my time at Sea Grant, I think of the many positive experiences I have had working with my colleagues, whether on land or water. I also think of that first expedition, when, awed by the endless sea and sky, I felt completely at ease.'
- Mike Sacarny


Find a nearby Coast Guard Auxiliary boating safety class at the Boating Safety Education website.

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MIT Sea Grant Research Engineer Mike Sacarny on the Deep-Water Corals Expedition