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The Ship Operations Department is currently searching for a Director of Ship Operations to join their team. This is a regular, full-time, exempt position, and is eligible for benefits.

JOB SUMMARY: The Director of Ship Operations is responsible for managing the organization which oversees the operation, maintenance and related activities of the Institution’s research vessels.


  • Has overall management responsibility for Ship Operations shore base and research vessels, including shore based personnel, ship’s crew, operations, maintenance, logistics, statutory compliance, long range planning, overhauls, special projects and policy implementation.
  • Routinely communicates with vessels during operations for planning, support and in response to emerging events.
  • Prepares proposals to US Government and other sponsors for support of ship operations and for the acquisition of shipboard equipment and shipboard scientific equipment.
  • Develops capital and operating budgets for vessel operations and marine shore services.
  • Supports and interfaces with other departments within Marine Operations, including ship scheduling, mission planning, vessel clearances, shipboard scientific equipment and underwater vehicle operations through the National Deep Submergence Facility.
  • Maintains liaison with federal agencies to ensure up-to-date SITREPS, knowledge of and compliance with applicable laws and regulations affecting vessels and/or shore-based marine services.
  • Oversees audits of vessel performance and compliance by various Federal agencies and regulatory bodies.
  • Prepares reports to meet various requirements of US Government sponsors and agreements
  • Supports the post cruise assessment process.
  • Recommends, develops and implements policies pertaining to marine personnel and vessel operation.
  • Provides for adequate crewing of Institution vessels, in conjunction with the Institution's Human Resources department, as required by regulatory agencies and Institution policies.
  • Develops planning needs for ship operations and acquisition of vessel and dockside equipment and facilities.
  • Plans and oversees modifications, maintenance, repairs, and improvements to Institution vessels as necessary and establishes contacts with and directs efforts of consultants, engineers, contractors, shipyards and vendors engaged in Institution marine projects.
  • Manages ancillary projects such as the Fleet Broadband and wire spooling programs.
  • Represents the Institution at regulatory body hearings, insurance matters, and other meetings pertaining to Institution marine interests.
  • Maintains records of vessel utilization, structures, and regulatory and inspecting agency compliance.
  • Participates in community activities pertaining to vessel planning and operations in support of the Institution’s mission.
  • Supervises Port Engineer, Marine Engineer, Marine Personnel Coordinator, project managers and other Marine administrative personnel.


  • As deemed necessary by supervisor


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in marine engineering or related field.
  • 15 years’ experience in roles with increasing responsibility, including time at sea on a research, merchant or military vessel as a deck or engineering officer, management ashore of vessel operations and maintenance, either as port captain or port engineer and senior vessel management ashore with supervisory and financial responsibilities.
  • Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing; ability to lead a team in a fast paced environment; strong work ethic; professional.


  • Master’s degree in business or engineering management
  • Thorough working knowledge of oceanographic research vessels, marine operations and Coast Guard regulations as they apply to research vessels. 
  • Experience managing the end to end process of major vessel overhauls.


  • Ability to obtain a security clearance.
  • Must have or obtain a TWIC Card


Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25lbs independently; carry 10-25 lbs. Visual abilities to include near, far, and peripheral vision, depth perception. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse), travel, work with and around others as well as working alone. Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; Need to be able to safely walk aboard ships while in port and at sea; need to be able to safely walk about shipyards. Will be exposed to excessive cold, heat, and/or humidity, grease and oils, hazardous substances or specimens, electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards, prolonged work hours. Exposures and environments typical of ships and shipyards.Physical duties are subject to change.

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.