Ocean Career: WHOI Instrumentation Technician

The Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department is searching for an instrumentation technician to join the Ocean Observatories Initiative team. This is a regular full-time position and is eligible for benefits. The internal working title for this position could be either Engineering Assistant II/III, or Sr Engineering Assistant I. The final level of the position will be determined commensurate with the selected candidate's level of education & experience.

The role of the position primarily consists of working with a range of oceanographic instruments from initial testing through deployment and recovery for the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI). OOI is an NSF funded project with the purpose of deploying and maintaining data collection moorings to measure physical, chemical, and biological processes for the scientific community.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities

  • Conduct functional testing of instrumentation per documented procedures.
  • Conduct laboratory calibration of meteorological instrumentation (e.g., sensors measuring temperature, pressure, humidity, wind, solar radiation, and precipitation).
  • Configure instruments for deployment per procedures.
  • Maintain detailed records of instrument inventory, maintenance, calibration and testing.
  • Conduct integration testing and characterization of instruments prior to deployment.
  • Evaluate and troubleshoot instruments and platforms in the lab and at sea.
  • Download instrument data post-deployment.
  • Correspond with vendors for refurbishment/recalibration and to resolve problems as they arise.
  • Provide instrumentation support during deployments.

Non-Essential Functions:

  • Support mooring build and disassembly as needed.
  • Perform other related duties as deemed necessary by supervisor.

Education & Experience

Engineering Asst. II: High School diploma or equivalent plus three years' mechanical or electronics experience, or Technical School training plus one year related experience, or two years' progress toward an engineering or related degree.

Engineering Asst. III: High School diploma or equivalent plus six years' mechanical or electronics experience, or Technical School training plus four years' practical experience, or two to three years' progress toward an engineering or related degree.

Sr. Engineering Asst. I: Considerable experience in specialized field


  • Motivated individual with attention to detail.
  • Must have basic mechanical and electrical skills.
  • Proficient in the use of common tools, measurement devices and diagnostic instrumentation.
  • Proficient with computers (primarily PC), and serial & Ethernet interfaces.
  • Must have meticulous documentation skills to support Asset Tracking and test documentation.
  • Ability to work collaboratively within a team environment.
  • Proficient in time management skills to meet deployment deadlines.
  • Ability to troubleshoot electrical and mechanical interfaces.
  • Creativity to come up with out of the box solutions for process improvements.
  • Familiarity/experience with Python helpful but not required.
  • Familiarity with oceanographic sensors and instrumentation is a plus.

Special Requirements

  • United States citizen or permanent resident.

Physical Requirements

Requires handling of oceanographic instrumentation and lifting up to 40 pounds. Includes opportunities to go to sea.

Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Will be exposed to dust or other irritants and electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards. Physical duties are subject to change.

Sea Duty

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.

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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