Research Operations Specialist

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA), Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS), West Coast Regional Office (WCRO) and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) require assistance conducting science and resource operations, including, but not limited to, management and maintenance of the Motorized Personal Watercraft (MPWC) buoy program.

MPWC are small, fast, and highly maneuverable craft that possess unconventionally high thrust capability and horsepower relative to their size and weight. The majority of MPWC currently operated within marine sanctuary areas are compact water jet-propelled craft that shed water from the passenger spaces. To prevent the disturbance of wildlife and other nearshore users, most MPWC have been restricted within protected marine areas adjacent to, or overlapping, MBNMS. Operation of motorized personal watercraft within MBNMS has been restricted to designated zones and access routes. Zone boundaries are marked by buoys and navigation aids.

Also, WCRO and MBNMS engage in a variety of underway operations for marine research, education, outreach, maritime heritage, law enforcement, intra/inter-agency partnership trips, etc. This ROS role requires a qualified, experienced research scientist to serve as cruise leader and participate in diverse scientific and research missions. The role will include management of ongoing research operations/programs as well as management/support on a project basis.

Cardinal Point Captains, Inc. (CPC) provides vessel research support to ONMS and is seeking a well-rounded applicant to serve as Research Operations Specialist (ROS) to the NOAA WCRO and MBNMS. 


  • Assist, plan and participate in scientific and research operations missions.
  • Participate in approximately 20 days of scientific SCUBA diving per year. 
  • Provide field and research program support to NOAA’s WCRO, including support on a project basis.
  • Assist in emergency response and remediation assessments.
  • Maintain marine personal watercraft (MPWC buoy zone marking system.
  • May be required to augment as non-licensed crew member on NOAA’s small boat(s) on site, such as the 67′ research vessel R/V Fulmar, 41′ R4107 and 22′ R/V Tegula.
  • Represent WCRO in related intra and inter-agency meetings and partnerships.
  • Serve as cruise leader in a variety of underway operations for research, education, outreach, maritime heritage, law enforcement, intra/inter-agency partnership trips, etc.
  • Support Motorized Personal Watercraft (MPWC buoy program. Tasks include maintaining MPWC buoys at designated stations; maintain planning files, mooring specs, rigging designs, equipment inventories, etc. for MPWC buoys; and coordinate and/or lead search & recovery of MPWC buoys reported missing, adrift, or aground.
  • 15 MPWC buoys in Monterey, Moss Landing and Santa Cruz will be reduced to 10. Organize recovery and shift remaining buoys to new locations in coordination with program management.
  • Coordinate with USCG Station Monterey regarding use of the buoy storage bay for equipment deliveries and access by MBNMS personnel and the buoy system deployment contractor (separate contract.
  • Support MBNMS Cruise Ship inspections and participate in joint USCG/MBNMS cruise ship compliance inspections, document results.
  • Participate in remediation activities related to miscellaneous spills or vessel incidents.
  • Maintain MBNMS’s incident database for occurrences of groundings, sinkings, spills and other potential enforcement incidents.
  • Identify, track and record staff-wide HAZWOPER training needs and requirements.



  • Masters Degree (or Bachelor’s Degree with 4+ years of applicable experience) from an accredited college or university in Marine Resource Management, Biology, Geology, Environmental Studies, Maritime Archaeology, electrical or mechanical engineering or related scientific field. 

Research and On-water Operations

  • Experience mobilizing research cruises, including tracking personnel and paperwork, purchasing and organizing field gear, and coordinating with research vessel operations staff and crew.
  • Experience and familiarity with marine buoy management and maintenance, especially with respect to maintenance of designated, restricted zones.
  • Experience working with federal government and state agencies. 
  • Current SCUBA certification (NAUI, PADI, etc.) and meet the standards established by the program’s diver certification process (which meets the standards set by NOAA and the American Academy of Underwater Science), or able to immediately participate/pass NOAA Diving training course, and maintain throughout duration of employment. 


  • Able to lift and carry up to fifty (50) pounds to assist transporting equipment and gear.

AAP/EEO Statement 

CPC is an EEO employer. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status.

Other Duties

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice. 

%d bloggers like this: