Marine Mammal Science Job Openings

Part Time Stranding Assistant

Job Category: Paid Staff Position
Date Posted:


Part time vessel operator and stranding assistant for the San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network: This paid position will assist with the efforts to provide coverage for all marine mammal stranding calls in San Juan County (SJC), Washington State. SJC is composed of over 400 rocks and islands visible at high tide and has a total shoreline of approximately 480 miles. Many of these islands are uninhabited and can only be accessed by vessel. Strandings of pinnipeds are most common and harbor seal pupping season, June through August, is the busiest season. The network conducts 15-25 necropsies a year and on average responds to 60 calls requiring level A data. The individual in this position will periodically serve as lead responder, vessel operator and ambassador between marine mammals and humans. In addition to a wide variety of tasks related to operating a stranding network. They will also be trained in large whale and pinniped disentanglement. The ideal candidate will have all the required qualifications and some combination of the preferred and desired qualifications. The candidate will be based on San Juan Island and will be contracted for approximately 20 hours per week, though the amount worked can vary by season with the possibility for additional hours in the future. Schedule will vary and involve “on call” time. Extensive experience operating small vessels is strongly preferred, however please still apply if you feel you fill many of the other qualifications.


-Operation of stranding vessel, a 21’ aluminum landing craft.
-Assist with stranding response including; managing the stranding hotline for stranding reports, conducting health assessments of live seal pups in the field, tagging live pinnipeds, transferring harassed or injured pups to a local rehabilitation center, surveying and documenting entangled animals, conducting Level A examinations of stranded marine mammals.
-Will occasionally be on call as lead responder. This will involve responding to daily reports, organizing response, coordination of volunteers and decisions regarding plan of action for stranded marine mammals.
-Assist with necropsies of fresh dead marine mammals including; transferring carcasses to the lab space, maintenance of necropsy gear, organizing, archiving and shipping biological samples
Data entry and analysis
-Assisting in maintenance of equipment, grant writing and all other tasks related to running a stranding network.
-Involvement in education and outreach
-Assist with training and supervising a volunteer network of approximately 60 people as well as seasonal interns


-Applicant must be permanently based or willing to relocate to San Juan Island, WA.
-Possess a valid US driver's license and access to a mode of transportation
-Previous experience piloting or working on vessels in a marine environment, 3 years minimum preferred
-Prior experience working in field settings and making decision involving safety, regarding weather, tides and experience level of a group
-Ability to maintain a calm positive attitude under pressure
-Physically fit (able to lift 50 lbs)


-Animal handling experience
-Four-year degree in life sciences preferably in a marine related field.
-Experience with conflict resolution & public communication
-Basic photography skills
-Basic mechanical ability


-Unmanned aircraft pilot
-SCUBA certified
-Large whale disentanglement training
-Experience handling pinnipeds
-Experience conducting necropsies
-Experience with scientific writing
-Experience with data entry

Pay: $18 – $20 DOE 20 hours a week with potential for more time in the future. This position will remain open until filled and will ideally start in May of 2023

For more information about The Whale Museum and/or the Stranding Network please explore the website.

To apply please email your resume or CV to Jessica Farrer at along with a short statement about why you are interested in this position and why you think you would be a good fit. This statement will be heavily weighted in the decision process for everyone and can add value to those that feel they lack the desired qualifications. We would prefer to hire the person and not the CV, this statement will help us to get to know you and could be the deciding factor for being granted an interview.