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Chief Mate, R/V David Packard

Chief Mate, R/V David Packard

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) is seeking candidates for the Chief Mate aboard the state-of-the-art research vessel US Flag David Packard, currently under construction in Spain. Do you have enthusiasm for the opportunity of commissioning our new vessel? As Chief Mate you will be a key leader in getting the ship to operational status, bringing the ship out of the shipyard and transiting back to our home port in California. An ideal candidate will also serve as a relief Master.

Vessel delivery is scheduled for late Q3, 2023. Start date negotiable.

MBARI works to create and globally scale the research and technology required to explore, map, and understand our changing ocean. Access to the ocean via research vessels is vital to accomplishing this mission. You’ll work with crew members, scientists and technical staff to build and maintain a collaborative and inclusive environment to achieve mission goals.

The Chief Mate will have a meaningful role in developing procedures, maintenance routines and safety strategies on the new vessel. MBARI encourages autonomy in problem solving and wants employees to be creative about finding solutions to problems.

After delivery, the ship will be tasked with supporting 5-10 day multi-disciplinary science missions (longer trips are possible). In an average year, the vessel supports about 18-20 science missions per year.

Operations consist primarily in supporting remote and autonomous vehicles including a 4000m work class ROV, AUVs and wave gliders. Moorings, CTDs and other science sampling operations are common.

The David Packard is a Coast Guard inspected subchapter U vessel, DNV Classed 1A, STCW, SOLAS and ISM regulated vessel. We will rely on the Chief Mate to lead maintaining the vessel to the highest standards.

The ship is equipped with a variable speed DC grid diesel-electric propulsion system and azimuthing thrusters. The use of advanced systems, dynamic positioning, automation and sophisticated handling equipment will be required.

Shipboard living conditions: Two person cabins meeting MLC standards. Personnel have access to satellite internet with bandwidth restrictions (no streaming, some sites blocked). The ship offers a small gym and good coffee. The usual underway schedule is 12 hours/day (4 on 8 off with 4 hours OT), in port schedule is typically 8 hour days.


  • Officer of the watch, leads deck evolutions and emergency response teams
  • Develops and implements procedures for scientific equipment deployment and recovery and improves shipboard procedures
  • Coordinates mobilization and demobilization before and after science cruises
  • Completes and supervises maintenance and safety inspections
  • Mentors personnel on seamanship and operations, cultivates a positive work atmosphere and collaboration between scientists and crew

Required qualifications:

  • Can fill Chief Officer billet on the COI, minimum US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Credential with OICNW II/1
  • GMDSS Operator IV/2, Vessel Personnel With Designated Security Duties VI/6
  • Intermediate digital literacy
  • Valid passport, TWIC
  • Covid-19 vaccination
  • Ability to work up to 30 days continuously on expedition voyages

Desired qualifications:

  • Previous success as Chief Officer or Master on vessels
  • STCW II/2 >500 GT and Ship Security Officer VI/5
  • Advanced digital literacy, experience with implementing preventative maintenance software (NS5, Helm Connect, etc.)
  • Experience with dynamic positioning, diesel-electric and azimuth propulsion

Ready to apply?

Job Code: CM-Packard

Please submit a cover letter, including copy of MMC, and a curriculum vitae by e-mail to, or by mail to the below address, or by fax to (831) 775-1659.

Jessica Chapman
Job Code: CM-Packard 
7700 Sandholdt Road
Moss Landing, CA 95039

Salary: $45.68 hourly to $62.50 hourly. Cruises offer ample opportunities for overtime, paid per CA state law.

We offer paid sick leave, holidays and vacation. Additional leave is accrued based on number of days at sea. NOTE: This is a full time position and does not offer a rotation. Leave is granted on an ad-hoc basis and the position is backfilled from a relief pool.

  • Competitive compensation
  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • 403B retirement plan with company contribution, vested immediately upon hire
  • Paid travel and expenses
  • MBARI pays for the training and fees to maintain merchant mariner credentials and for some professional development

MBARI is an Equal Opportunity Employer. MBARI considers all applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, age, disability, covered veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.