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Marine Operations


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Enjoy an exciting seagoing career on technologically-advanced platforms in pursuit of NOAA’s mission to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans and coasts.

NOAA's fleet of 15 active research and survey ships operate world-wide in direct support of NOAA's diverse environmental information programs, environmental stewardship services, and applied scientific research. NOAA ships are run by a combination of NOAA Commissioned Officers, civilian wage mariners, and other federal employees while being supported by Marine Operations personnel. The ships' officers and crew provide mission support and assistance to embarked scientists from various NOAA laboratories as well as the academic community.

  • The NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps (NOAA Corps) is one of the nation’s eight uniformed services. NOAA Corps officers are an integral part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and serve with the special trust and confidence of the President.

  • NOAA also employs a number of civilians to work at one of the three Marine Operations Centers (MOCs), at the smaller port offices, and on board in support of the fleet. Positions involve the performance of a number of duties including contracting, facility maintenance, administration, procurement, ship engineering, and information technology. Please visit USA Jobs for current vacancies and more information.

  • NOAA regularly has openings for civilian mariners aboard NOAA research vessels in support of NOAA's mission. The wage marine personnel include licensed masters, mates, engineers, unlicensed members of the engine, stewards, and deck department. In addition, survey and electronic technicians operate and/or maintain the ship's mission, communication, and navigation equipment. Current vacancies are listed below.  To apply for job vacancies submit your resume to or fax it to 757-441-6495. Applicants must be U.S. citizens to be considered.

NOAA's wage mariners are an integral part of understanding the condition of the ocean and atmosphere. They also add a seaman's know-how to NOAA's scientific research by directly participating in the operation and handling of scientific gear in the tumultuous ocean environment. The highly-skilled and technical workforce provides NOAA the ability to achieve success in the conduct of nautical charting, bathymetric mapping, fisheries research, ecosystem assessments, marine environment baseline assessments, coastal-ocean circulation, and oceanic and atmospheric research.

NOAA shipboard 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, and participation in the Thrift Savings Plan (similar to 401k). As a Federal employee, you will earn hours of leave per pay period, depending on years of service credited:
  • Up to 3 years of federal service, you will earn 4 hours of leave/per pay period.
  • 3-15 years of federal service, you will earn 6 hours of leave/per pay period.
  • 15 or more years of federal service, you will earn 8 hours of leave/per pay period.
Shore Leave

You will earn an additional 8 hours of leave for every 15 days away from your home port / more than 50 miles away.

Federal Employee Health Benefits
As a federal employee, NOAA Wage Mariners can elect health insurance (approx. 20 plans to choose from) including family coverage as well as life insurance options, vision and dental coverage. 

Job Descriptions

Descriptions of the departments and positions can be found here:

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Reviewed: September 16, 2020. Contact us with page issues.

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