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Professional Mariner

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Enjoy an exciting career while gaining experience and training to advance your mariner or personal credentials.

NOAA's fleet of 15 research ships operate world-wide in direct support of NOAA's diverse environmental information collection programs, environmental stewardship services and applied scientific research. NOAA ships are operated by a combination of NOAA commissioned officers and civilian professional mariners (wage marine job series). The ships' officers and crew provide mission support and assistance to embarked scientists from NOAA laboratories and the academic community.

NOAA regularly has openings for civilian mariners aboard NOAA research and survey ships. Professional mariner personnel include licensed masters, mates, and engineers, and unlicensed members of the engine, stewards, and deck department. Survey and electronic technicians operate and/or maintain the ship's mission, communication and navigation equipment.

Professional mariners are the backbone of the fleet, an integral part of achieving NOAA’s mission to understand the condition of the ocean and atmosphere. NOAA ships typically spend from 180 to 240 days at sea per year in support of NOAA’s objectives, which include nautical charting, bathymetric mapping, fisheries research, ecosystem assessments, marine environment baseline assessments, coastal-ocean circulation studies, and oceanic and atmospheric research.  As a professional mariner, you are expected, and counted on, to provide the specialized skills and technical expertise to make these projects successful, whether it is deploying scientific equipment, operating the propulsion plant, or prepping the food line.

Mariners have an excellent total compensation benefits package which includes health insurance (optional), life insurance (optional), paid annual leave, sick and shore leave, retirement plan, participation in the Thrift Savings Plan (similar to 401k).

    How to Apply

    You must be a U.S. citizen to be eligible for a NOAA civilian profession mariner job. To apply, please visit

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    Reviewed: March 15, 2022. Contact us with page issues.

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