Ocean Career: Oregon State University Marine Technician

The College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS) is an internationally recognized leader in the study of the Earth as an integrated system.

It operates numerous state-of-the art laboratories and oceanographic research vessels. The College has an annual budget of more than $50 million, with support coming from the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and other federal agencies. It has more than 100 faculty, 200 graduate students and 600 undergraduate students. Graduate programs include M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; Geology; and Geography and a M.S. degree in Marine Resource Management. The college has undergraduate programs in Earth Sciences and Environmental Sciences, with several minors and certificate programs.

Job Summary

The Marine Technician will serve as a member of the Oregon State University (OSU) Marine Technician group primarily providing technical support on the Research Vessel (R/V) Taani (199-foot research vessel owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by OSU) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Arctic Vessels (USCGC Healy). The Marine Technician will provide technical support for these vessels, both on shore and at sea. The Marine Technician must possess varied skills and the ability to be flexible and able to make decisions independently. The Marine Technician performs tasks critical to the success of scientific programs at sea. The Marine Technician interacts directly with students, technicians, faculty, and classified employees, and often directs the deployment and recovery of sampling equipment and instrumentation from the vessel. While at sea, the Marine Technician also oversees the collecting of underway data from each of the vessels supported. The Marine Technician contributes developmental technical support for the Regional Class Research Vessel (RCRV) program, which is an effort within OSU that is currently designing and constructing the next class of oceangoing research vessel for the National Science Foundation (NSF). OSU’s new Research Vessel the 199-foot R/V Taani is currently under construction, and the Marine Technician will participate in the support of the transition to operations.

The primary responsibility of the Marine Technician position is to ensure the data collected from the shared use equipment pool of the R/V Taani and the USCGC Healy is of the highest quality, has received proper quality control, and is disseminated to the principal investigators (PIs) for use in peer reviewed publications and presentations. The Marine Technician also leads pre‐cruise, at sea, and post‐cruise duties for scientific research performed at sea. The ability to become recognized as an advocate of OSU’s marine technological operational systems, with exemplary knowledge of current and historical configurations, troubleshooting, and repair on the bench or in the field, is vital to the success of the program. A successful Marine Technician can expect an evolving role with the potential to grow to a higher-level position with increased responsibilities.

Key Responsibilities

25%—Participates in the advanced planning for upcoming cruises, the preparation and staging of cruise equipment, and the scheduling of equipment requests and usage. Acts as a liaison, coordinating information between scientific party members, Ship Operations staff and crew, USCG, and Marine Technician personnel. Coordinates cruise operations including pre‐ cruise planning, logistics, loading/offloading of equipment, and at sea scientific activities. Fulfills the post‐cruise obligation of data dissemination to scientists and national data archives. Completes post‐cruise assessment reports. Drives OSU Motor Pool, personal, and/or rental vehicles to offsite locations in order to complete cruise preparations and operations, and to transport equipment and research staff to and from the research vessel. Launches and retrieves scientific equipment, maintains and repairs equipment, and uses proper sample collection techniques.

Uses power tools, works in the same vicinity where non-restricted hazardous chemicals are housed, works with non-restricted hazardous material or equipment, performs welding or soldering, and performs painting and/or handles paint preparation.

50%—As an independent seagoing technician, assists in the collection of data that will be used in accredited scientific publications. Participates in numerous outreach and engagement opportunities that can take place both on the vessels or other shore-side locations. Oversees the data collection from the shipboard oceanographic equipment, determines the best processes for collection of the data, and provides an initial assessment of the quality of the data. Assesses and re-configures instruments for proper data acquisition. Ensures the safety and effectiveness of over-the-side equipment deployments and recoveries. Maintains the operation of permanent and transitory shared use equipment and computer facilities and troubleshoots/repairs shipboard equipment and systems. Interacts with, and often directs, the activities of students, technicians, faculty, and classified employees when involved in ship-board sampling activities.

25%—Develops and maintains critical documentation and tracks and reports all inspections, maintenance, and changes made to shipboard science or network infrastructure systems and components. Promotes innovation and integration of new technology to improve vessel/operational capabilities. Contributes new designs and applies existing designs of instrumentation, adding to the knowledge base of the oceanographic community. Draws conclusions on the development and design of instrumentation used for data collection. Installs, improves, and maintains new and existing shipboard scientific equipment. Maintains, calibrates, upgrades, and repairs shared use and shipboard systems. Performs independent projects and design efforts. Represents Oregon State University, CEOAS, and the Marine Technician Group through outreach and engagement efforts.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Science, Computer Science, Engineering, Oceanography, Electronics, or a closely related field; OR Associate’s degree in Science, Engineering, Oceanography, Electronics, Marine Technology or a related field, AND two years of recent, relevant experience as a Marine Technician or similar position in the military, or at another research university or organization OR five years of recent and relevant experience as a Marine Technician or similar position in the military, or at another research university or organization.
  • Strong computer skills with at least two years of experience working intimately with computer systems with a focus in network maintenance, satellite communications, shipboard networks, or data collection systems.
  • Demonstrated ability to work well within a technical team environment.
  • Demonstrated leadership experience involving training and mentoring others.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Proven ability to appropriately scale and apply formal and informal troubleshooting methodologies. Demonstrated ability to work independently and make on-the-spot decisions.
  • Demonstrated ability to deal with diverse groups of scientists and crew onboard a ship. Must possess a valid passport at time of employment.

This position requires driving a university vehicle or a personal vehicle on behalf of the university; therefore, the incumbent must successfully complete a motor vehicle history check, possess and maintain a current, valid driver’s license in their state of residence, be determined to be position qualified and self-report

Recommended Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in Science, Computer Science, Engineering, Oceanography, Electronics, or a related field.
  • Completion of internships in the marine technical field.
  • Two or more years at-sea experience maintaining and operating shipboard scientific equipment.
  • Proven competence in leading overboarding operations, facilitating onboard communications, ensuring data quality standards are met and managing multiple priorities simultaneously.
  • Experience in project management including communications with multiple stakeholders, shifting timelines and logistical needs.
  • Technical training or technical certifications in computers, electronics, or a closely related field.
  • Network administrator experience with strong working knowledge of computer networks, computer programming (Linux-based, Python, MatLab, C and C++), satellite communications, bandwidth management, cyber security, firewall management and data acquisition systems.
  • Working knowledge of AC/DC power systems, fiber optics, WiFi, terminals and electronics testing techniques.
  • Proven competence in computer systems administration, experience with virtual machines, network attached storage, cloud-based storage and mixed platform operating systems (Unix/Linux, Windows and Macintosh environments).
  • Operational experience with Kongsberg acoustic systems including the EM 304 and 2040, EK80, and TOPAS
  • Experience with a variety of meteorological sensors including Picarro gas analyzers, Kipp & Zonen and ROSR radiometers, Apollo underway pCO2 system, and Vaisala cloud detection and present weather systems.
  • Experience with unmanned vehicle systems. Part 107 FAA certification.
  • Experience with remotely operated vehicles (ROV).
  • Demonstrable commitment to promoting inclusivity and enhancing diversity.

Work Conditions

This position is required to work from various research ships in at-sea or shipyard / in-port environment. Willingness and ability to spend up to 120 days per year at sea is required, and the incumbent must not be incapacitated by seasickness.

Hybrid/Remote flexible work arrangement may be possible depending on operational needs and working conditions.

The position requires working and residing in confined spaces containing non-restricted hazardous chemicals, working aloft and in or over water, working in construction zones, working directly with non- restricted chemicals in a non-lab setting, working with lift equipment and on elevated surfaces, exposure to high noise levels, and use of a respirator or dust mask.

The ability to lift/carry/push/pull objects weighing up to 50 pounds is required.

The ability to operate passenger vehicle, utility cart, forklift, heavy machinery, winches and cranes, boats, and other vehicles is required.

Some of the work takes place on a moving platform, therefore, safety is of utmost importance. Safety procedures are common to all research ships, and must be followed as explained by the Captain and crew of each ship at the start of and during each voyage.

This is a full-time position, and may require the ability to work more than forty (40) hours per week while at sea. This position is eligible for overtime compensation at the rate of time-and-one-half for work performed in excess of forty (40) hours in a work week (Sunday-Saturday).

Closing Date: 11/15/2023

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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