he Soundwatch Boater Education Program is seeking a vessel operator for the 2024 summer field season. Soundwatch is a research, education and monitoring program operated by The Whale Museum (TWM), a not-for-profit organization located in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island in Washington State. The Soundwatch program mission is to reduce vessel disturbance to marine wildlife, particularly the endangered Southern Resident killer whales, in the Salish Sea region of Washington State (USA) and British Columbia (Canada). Soundwatch is looking for vessel operators/educators to carry out program objectives; educate boaters on best practices for viewing marine wildlife before they leave the shore; reinforce the learning experience in the actual context where disturbances take place; develop and evaluate community-based voluntary guidelines; and provide a scientific platform to monitor vessel activities around marine mammals. To learn more, please visit our website and read Soundwatch’s most recent Contract Report and publications.
Vessel operators/educators will conduct seasonal vessel patrols, educate boaters on regional/federal Be Whale Wise guidelines and regulations, and collect data while monitoring vessel activity around whales. Data from this critical program characterizes vessel activity trends around endangered killer whales and other marine wildlife. The data is used to promote better boater compliance and to inform marine mammal management strategies such as state and federal vessel laws and guidelines.
Vessel operators/educators report to the Soundwatch Program Coordinator and work cooperatively with other museum staff, program interns and volunteers. This position is classed as Seasonal Field Work Contractor, June-September. Hourly wage for this position is commensurate with experience and starts at $25.00/hour.
VESSEL OPERATOR/EDUCATOR RESPONSIBILITIES:
Seasonal field operations:
· Conduct full- or half-day on-the-water educational patrols and monitoring of whale watch activities May-September.
· Maintain daily boat patrol protocols and data collection procedures on whale watching and marine wildlife viewing trends, guideline compliance measurements and educational materials distribution.
· Prevent wildlife disturbance by intercepting boaters before they reach wildlife areas.
· Monitor activities within San Juan County Marine Stewardship Area including recreational and fishing pressure in reserve areas, including National Wildlife Refuge Areas and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Biological Preserve Areas.
· Maintain equipment and collection materials.
· Work with Soundwatch volunteers and interns.
· Maintain communications with whale research and commercial whale-watch community.
· Report marine mammal strandings to the San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
Small Vessel operations:
· Operate 17’-20’ outboard vessels.
· Perform routine maintenance and minor boat/engine repair, maintain vessel/engine/operation and safety equipment, communicate with coordinator and/or mechanic for troubleshooting advice, provide vessel operation briefing to interns and volunteers.
Education/Outreach on marine stewardship:
· Distribution of educational materials on-the-water, regional boating facilities and organizations.
· Participate in local education and outreach events.
Soundwatch field data-entry:
· Assist with field season data entry. Assist with the update of annual commercial whale watch industry information and ID book.
· Assist with training of volunteers and interns. Keep track of volunteer activities for future reporting.
Bachelor’s degree in marine/wildlife sciences.
Valid US passport or an enhanced driver's license (for the entirety of their position) and CPR/First Aid certification.
A Washington state boater license.
Minimum 3 years of small vessel operation with experience operating around marine wildlife.
Familiarity with recovery priorities related to endangered SRKWs.
Soundwatch operates under a NOAA NMFS research permit which requires vessel operator candidates to have relevant field experience. The successful candidate must be approved for operation by NMFS as a condition for hiring.
HOW TO APPLY FOR POSITION:
Please send a letter of interest, a resume, and contact information for three references. Please include any start/end dates and passport status.
Submit application materials via email as one PDF.
Please include in your subject line: Soundwatch Vessel Operator Application (Last Name).
Soundwatch Vessel Driver/Educator should plan to be in place by May 1, 2024 (Exact start date negotiable). Active review of submitted applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.
PLEASE SEND APPLICATION MATERIALS TO:
Soundwatch Boater Education Program Coordinator
Please feel free to contact with any questions.