Engineering Assistant I/II - Electronics (Deep Submersible Crew and Pilot Trainee)
Job Reference13-12-01
Job TitleEngineering Assistant I/II - Electronics (Deep Submersible Crew and Pilot Trainee)
Human Occupied Submersible Maintenance Technician (Engineering Assistant II - Electrical). This is a regular full time at sea position and is eligible for benefits. (Note that during vehicle overhaul periods every 3 to 5 years, the Operations Crew is required to work in Woods Hole.)

JOB SUMMARY: With initial supervision, applies knowledge of established procedures to the maintenance, troubleshooting and repair of vehicle related equipment used in the operation of the submersible Alvin. The candidate will work toward a position allowing minimally supervision.

Successful candidate is expected to enter the pilot training program following an initial hire probationary period. Pilot certification carries a promotion and re-classification.

This is a mentally and physically demanding position requiring the ability and willingness to initially spend typically eight months per year at sea with a flexible rotation schedule of approximately four months at sea then two months earned leave. Individual cruise legs (port to port) are approximately 2 to 3 weeks and 4 to 5 days between in port are typical. Ports are worldwide. Sea time requirements are adjusted periodically based on promotion to Pilot.

  • Maintain, test, and repair systems and components (including digital and analog circuits) used in the operation of the manned submersible Alvin and its support systems.
  • Maintain vehicle lead acid batteries including assembly of cells into battery cases, charging, equalizing, watering and condition analysis.
  • Maintain and test DC power distribution components such as power switching relays, fuses, circuit breakers, DC brushless motors and controllers, underwater lighting components, cables and connectors.
  • Maintain vehicle computer systems.Assist in the preparation of scientific equipment used with the submersible.
  • Participate in all phases of the vehicle launch, recovery and tracking (good ability to swim with mask and flippers is required).
  • Complete the qualification programs necessary to serve as launch/recovery swimmer (ability to swim with mask and flippers is required), launch coordinator, and surface coordinator plus complete the training required to advance to the position of a minimally supervised, qualified Alvin Operations Technician. This effort is expected to require approximately one year.
  • Complete the training program necessary to become a qualified Alvin Pilot. This effort is expected to require an additional eighteen to twenty four months.


  • United States citizen or permanent resident.
  • Current Passport Holder  - due to potential immediate travel
  • Must be able to obtain TWIC card.
  • Motivated individuals with meticulous and safe work habits with broad electrical/electronic skills.
  • Proficient in the use of common tools, measurement devices and diagnostic instrumentation.
  • Must have practiced soldering skills.Must be capable of analyzing equipment problems using drawings and documentation in conjunction with the proper test equipment and procedures.
  • Must have meticulous documentation skills to support continuing certification and classification requirements of the U.S. Navy and the American Bureau of Shipping.
  • Some basic mechanical skills and training is a plus.
  • Performs other related duties as required.


PHYSICAL DUTIES: Because of the significant strenuous duties of this at-sea position, a detailed pre-employment physical, including drug screening is mandatory. In addition to a pre-employment physical, entry into the Pilot training program and maintaining Pilot qualification requires the candidate to pass an annual Federal Aviation Administration aircraft private pilot 3rd class medical examination and not have a condition and/or need to use medications likely to cause incapacitation during a dive so as to meet U.S. Navy standards and requirements.

Must be able to repeatedly lift 50 pounds as well as ascent/decent 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.
Additionally, the submersible’s payload and interior arrangement require that its pilot be able to remain within a confined space for periods of up to 10 hours and also be within weight restrictions. This is an at-sea environment where the weather conditions are unpredictable. May be exposed to excessive cold/heat and or severe weather conditions. Candidate must be able to hear and answer communications in high ambient noise environment at sea. Physical duties are subject to change.

Sea Duty conditions and physical attributions: May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. 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 as hours are 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 bad 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.

EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE DESIRED:Bachelor's Degree in Electronic or Electrical Engineering or a Bachelor degree in another related field with significant documented electronic or electrical experience. Associates Degree in Electronic or Electrical Engineering with five years or greater of applicable experience in electronic or electrical systems maintenance. High school graduate or equivalent plus two years post high school training in electronic or electrical engineering with a minimum of three years experience as an electronic or electrical technician or equivalent training and/or experience will be considered. Previous at-sea experience is not necessary but desired.

WHOI is a member of the Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (HERC). We are sensitive to the issues of dual career candidates and we will work with applicants to address them. Please visit HERC - for more information.

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 for assistance.
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