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Second Mate, Small Boat Support

Apply now Job no: 500765
College / VP Area: College of Earth & Ocean Envir
Work type: Staff
Location: Lewes
Categories: Research & Laboratory, Full Time



The HUGH R SHARP (SHARP) is a $20+m University owned advanced technology floating lab which supports oceanographic research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Naval Research (ONR), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and academic intuitions throughout the U.S. The University of Delaware is a member of the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) and is one of the few institutions nationwide that operates a regional class research vessel.

Safe and efficient operation and maintenance of the ship is essential for the safety of personnel, accomplishment of research goals, and generation of revenue to cover the $2+m annual operating budget for the vessel. The principal emphasis of the Second Mate position is the safe and effective operation and navigation of the ship. Oceanographic operations are inherently risky with the use of winches, cranes, and the deployment of high-value equipment into the ocean. The SHARP has complex navigation and propulsion systems to perform precision mission support work at sea. The ship operates 24/7 when at sea, carries up to 22 personnel, and handles high value (up to $1m+) equipment in the dynamic ocean environment. Science missions are several days to over two weeks at a time, totaling an average of 180 days at sea per year. The Second Mate’s decision making when operating the ship directly and immediately impacts the safety of life, equipment, and the ship itself.

The Second Mate is a U.S. Coast Guard licensed mariner responsible for operating the 146 foot, 497 gross ton, SHARP while at sea and performing outfitting, maintenance and repairs, and administrative duties while alongside. When operating the ship as Officer in Charge of the Navigational Watch, the Second Mate is the sole person responsible for the immediate navigation and operation of the ship. Strong independent judgment is required in evaluating where the ship can safely navigate, avoiding ship traffic, and properly handling scientific gear over the side relative to weather, currents, and ship motion.

The Second Mate must be skilled in diagnosing problems, determining effective solutions and making skilled repairs and/or adjustments to a variety of ship systems. As the direct representative of the Captain and the University of Delaware when on watch, the Second Mate must have excellent customer service skills to interact with the various scientific users form federal agencies and institutions to enable accomplishment of scientific missions. The Second Mate may also lead safety briefings and direct work teams mobilizing the ship or performing maintenance. The Second Mate also serves key roles on emergency response teams and with readiness of the ship’s safety and medical equipment and supplies.



  • Stands a navigational watch as Officer in Charge (six hours on/six hours off) when at sea. Responsible for the safe movement and mission operations of the ship. Operates complex ship propulsion, navigation, and communications systems in accordance with U.S. Coast Guard regulations and standard maritime watch keeping practices. Maintains situational awareness of the ship operational area, sea conditions, weather, deck operations, safety monitoring systems, personnel on duty, and deployed equipment while on duty.
  • Operates the vessel in a full array of scientific operations involving station keeping with Dynamic Positioning (DP), moorings, specialized scientific equipment deployment and recovery, towed instrumentation operations, survey operations, and small boat activities.
  • Perform ship navigation route planning for transits and operations. Maintain deck and other log books according to regulatory requirements. Assist with the maintenance and updating of Bridge Navigation and Communications equipment.
  • Work collaboratively with embarked science personnel to safely and efficiently meet science objectives.
  • Serve on Emergency Response teams (fire, flooding, medical, lifeboat, man over board) and participate in drills and training. Maintain appropriate firefighting and medical certifications. Can be called out at anytime at sea to assist with an emergency.
  • Lead work teams and perform cleaning, preservation, coating, and basic maintenance to the ship hull, deck, equipment, interior spaces, and ship’s small boat.
  • Assist the Captain and Chief Mate with Administrative duties related to management of the ship and meeting regulatory requirements. This may include updating navigational charts, safety equipment inspections, medical inventory, preparation for American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) or National Science Foundation (NSF) ship inspections, etc.
  • Operates the ship’s small boat and deck equipment including cranes, winches, frames, capstans, and windlasses. Responsible for following protocols to keep equipment and nearby personnel safe.
  • Secure the vessel for heavy weather at sea or in port. Assist with compliance to environmental and port security requirements.
  • Maintain familiarity with major engine room equipment and ship systems.
  • Directs and/or assists with the turn-around of the vessel between assigned cruises including on-loading and off-loading of scientific gear, ship stores, and coordination of logistics.
  • Monitor Bridge and Deck gear/supply inventories. Procure pre-approved equipment and supplies for the ship. Adhere to University purchase card policies and procedures.
  • Assist with the operation and maintenance of the University’s small boat fleet as allocated.
  • Is generally available for communications through phone and email while off the ship.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree and two years’ experience as a deck officer on vessels, or an equivalent combination of education, maritime training and certifications, and experience.
  • Must hold or obtain within twelve months of hire, a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) “Master 200 Tons - Near Coastal” license or higher. At a minimum must have a Merchant Mariner Credential with a “Master 100 tons” and “Radar Observer Unlimited” endorsements at time of hire.
  • Experience with deployment and recovery of equipment at sea, such as oceanographic, fishing, supply, or towing vessel operations required.
  • Must maintain other required certifications and training for the vessel’s size and class including but not limited to Radar Observer, STCW, GMDSS, Marine Fire Fighting, ARPA, MPIC.
  • Experience with Azipod or Z-drives and Dynamic Positioning preferred.


  • The physical environment requires the employee to work exposed to all conditions found aboard a ship at sea. This includes heavy weather, extreme heat/cold, and all forms of precipitation. Occasionally required to use personal protective equipment to prevent exposure to hazardous materials (paint, solvents, etc.) and other risks during maintenance.


  • Must be able to perform normal duties aboard ship such as: climbing and descending ladders, handling mooring lines, opening and closing watertight doors, wearing an emergency breathing apparatus, reaching, handling, grasping, and lifting lifesaving and firefighting equipment, handling moderate loads (at least 40 pounds).
  • Must meet the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) physical requirements for merchant seaman as outlined in 46 CFR and given on USCG Form CG-719K.
  • Must be able to spend extended periods away from homeport including sailing as much as 140 days (2/3 of the ship’s maximum sailing schedule) and be at sea for up to three weeks at a time depending on operational demands.
  • Must be willing to work weekends and holidays at sea and in port as operations require.
  • Must have excellent decision making and interpersonal skills to interact appropriately with scientific users, direct crew, and communicate plans, risks, and operational limitations to users while maintaining a customer service and mission accomplishment environment.
  • Must be willing to be enrolled in a Department of Transportation (DOT) random drug-testing program and pass a pre-employment drug screening.
  • Must have a valid, state issued driver’s license in order to operate ship’s vehicles for crew transfers and conducting ship’s business.
  • Requires the use of personal protective equipment to prevent exposure to safety hazards/hazardous materials.

Notice of Non-Discrimination, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
The University of Delaware does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, disability, religion, age, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in its employment, educational programs and activities, admissions policies, and scholarship and loan programs as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and University policies. The University of Delaware also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

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