Expedition Leader - DSV Alvin; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Job Title: 
Expedition Leader - DSV Alvin

Job Summary

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is currently searching for an Expedition Leader to join the Alvin Submersible Engineering and Operations Group. This is a regular, full-time, exempt position and is eligible for benefits including shore leave.

Alvin is the world’s most famous and prolific human occupied submersible, continually operating since its commissioning in 1964. For over five decades, and 5000+ dives Alvin has advanced our understanding of the Earth’s ocean environments, uncovering many significant scientific discoveries along the way. Alvin is currently undergoing its scheduled overhaul, and will emerge with the capability to dive to 6500m and explore over 98% of the ocean floor.

The Alvin Group is seeking a highly qualified Expedition Leader to join our operations team. This is a mentally and physically demanding position that includes significant at-sea time of 6-to-8 months per year. The ideal candidate will have 12+ months of previous experience supervising the operation and/or maintenance of submersibles. Strong team leadership skills are necessary, and attention to detail is a must. Effective written and verbal communications skills are also required.

The Expedition Leader is responsible for the administration and direction of complex submersible maintenance procedures and documentation. A familiarity with U.S. Navy P9290 Certification, standard maintenance procedures and quality assurance practices is a plus. The successful candidate is expected to enter the DSV Pilot training program and obtain US NAVY DSV Pilot certification within 18-24 months.

Essential Functions

  • At-sea leadership, technical and operational management of the Alvin Operations Group.
  • Overall at-sea responsibility for safety of dive personnel and the vehicle.
  • Directs and implements DSV Alvin maintenance, testing and repair activities.
  • Ensures adherence to Alvin and US Navy operational procedures, rules and restrictions.
  • Ensures compliance with, and maintenance of, Alvin’s US NAVY Certification.
  • Ensure proper development and maintenance of operational and maintenance records and documentation files.
  • Coordination of the efforts of Operations Group personnel assigned for the cruise through the respective Section Leaders and in conjunction with the support ship Captain.
  • Responsible for dive specific personnel assignments (i.e., Surface Controller, Launch Coordinator, and Pilot-in-Command, etc.).
  • Daily determination of the feasibility of dive objectives and evaluation of local environmental impacts to diving operations (weather, sea-state).
  • Participates in advance pre-cruise planning and planning meetings/conference calls.
  • Coordinates with the Science Party, through the Chief Scientist, to develop and review dive specific mission plans.
  • Ensures dive observers receive proper training (observer briefings) prior to dives.
  • Ensures proper disposition of cruise documentation, data and collected samples upon cruise completion.
  • Assist in the preparation of scientific equipment used with the submersible.
  • Participate in all phases of the DSV Alvin launch, recovery and on-deck operations.
  • Complete the qualification necessary to serve as launch/recovery swimmer (ability to swim with mask and flippers is required), launch system (LARS) operator, launch coordinator, small boat operator and surface coordinator.
  • Ability to work in confined and shared areas for extended periods of time.

Education & Experience

  • Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical, Electrical, or Ocean Engineering or a Bachelor degree in another related field with significant documented experience or other equivalent submersible team leadership experience.
  • Navy qualifications will be considered in lieu of a formal degree..  

Special Requirements

  • Must be a US Citizen and a current US passport holder
  • Must be able to acquire a TWIC card
  • Sea Duty required
  • Must be an experienced professional team leader
  • Must be extremely motivated self-starter with meticulous and safe work habits and well developed attention to details
  • Must have knowledge of a broad range of high level mechanical, electrical, and operations related technical disciplines
  • Must be capable of analyzing and troubleshooting system problems using drawings and documentation in conjunction with the proper test equipment and procedures
  • Must possess excellent verbal and written communications skills
  • Must have meticulous documentation skills to support continuing certification requirements of the US Navy
  • Must be able to pass a pilot physical with equivalent standards to the FAA 3rd class pilot physical

Physical Requirements

Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift 25-50 lbs independently, 2-3 times per day; carry 25-50 lbs, 3-4 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, and peripheral vision, depth perception, ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, and communicate effectively in loud areas. Other abilities include talking, traveling, working around others, working with others, and working alone. Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, reaching above and below the shoulders, and kneeling, bending, and stooping. Will be exposed to excessive cold, heat, and/or humidity, grease and oils, dust and other irritants, hazardous substances or specimens, electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards, prolonged work hours, severe weather conditions, and/or extended periods at sea. Physical duties are subject to change

Must be able to ascend/descend a vertical ladder through a 20” diameter hatch opening. This position also requires personnel to assist in the launch and recovery of the vehicle therefore good swimming skills are required.

Due to the submersible’s interior arrangement, pilots must be able to remain within a confined space for periods of up to 12 hours. Candidate must be able to hear and answer communications in high ambient noise environment.

Sea Duty

May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day.  While at sea the candidate will be required to work 7 days per week without time off for holidays or weekends. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work hours needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience poor or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion.

Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise.

Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.

WHOI is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer/Disabled/Veterans/M/F. We encourage Veterans and those with Disabilities to apply. Applications are reviewed confidentially. Applicants that require accommodation in the job application process are encouraged to contact us at (508) 289-2253 or email eeo [at] whoi.edu () for assistance.

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