1. First, it's good to remember to take your station logbook with you, so you can remember to write down important basic info about each station. Like, where it was, what day it was, what time, how deep the water was, etc. Ideally this should be written on sheets of paper with preprinted forms on them, and not a wad of sticky notes.
2. Having a station logbook also helps you avoid giving more than one station the same number.
3. Not to mention it probably helps remind you that stations ought to have numbers in the first place, or at least some kind of distinct name.
4. A cruise plan is good too. That way you don't have to go back to previous stations because you forgot to do something.
5. Second, a CTD depth profile is not actually supposed to be a race to the bottom. You really do want the instruments to take more than one measurement per meter or two.
6. Additionally, if you're hoping to have any useful data from the top 1.0 meters, try to do the CTD presoak shallower than 1.5 meters.
7. Yes, it turns out that the presoak actually is a requirement. Remember: not a race.
8. Third, the time to discover that some of the sensor calibrations are on crack should not be while the cruise is underway.
9. Fourth, it's helpful to have all of the equipment on the boat recording time in the same time zone.
10. And finally, remember that water never has a density of -2.
p.s. Not related to actual cruises, just to the data workup afterward: be aware that all of your Matlab pre-7 scripts will break in Matlab 7 in astoundingly stupid ways.