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A visit to the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum and Education Center

By Virginia Limon, '21

|Photo: Alinoe Roussie

Did you know offshore oil rigs are like their own little city? They have sleeping, eating, and working quarters. They employ staff from all walks of life typically in the count of 100+. Many people have seen at least one of the various movies about oil drilling so we are all familiar with the roughnecks we see. However, oil rigs are such much more than that. Many may think that although they are a marine biology, marine transportation, or maritime administration major that they would have no business in the oil industry, but they would be wrong. Open your mind and take a look.

The Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum is a retired jack-up drilling rig retrofitted to be a three story beacon of education located across the Galveston Channel. It can be seen from Shell Beach on the south side of campus. Museum guests come through the gift shop onto a long gangway to board the museum. After a short video, visitors can tour the museum at their leisure or with an audio guide.

The museum includes three floors of interactive displays and intriguing models to educate the public of the story of offshore oil rigs. It covers many aspects of the unique orchestra comprised of various companies and thousands of people that come together to give Texas its black life blood. Scale models of production platforms show visitors the various types of oil rigs already in place in the oceans of the world. Real drill bits, remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs), Christmas trees (not the green holiday kind), transfer units, and other life-sized replicas allow a glimpse into a whole other world that the general public would otherwise never be aware of. Videos and exhibits elucidate many of the aspects of the offshore oil realm including drilling, geology, well servicing, production, and seismic work.

The Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. with ticket sales ceasing at 4 p.m. No matter your major or field of study, it is worth a trip to take a peek into an extraordinary world you would never have known you could be a part of.