Seattle, WA
Schmidt Ocean Institute | SOI Operations | Full-Time | On-Site
Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI) was founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt in 2009 with a goal to advance the frontiers of ocean exploration and research through technological advancement, intelligent observation, and open sharing of information. This is achieved by making ship time and associated assets freely available to scientists globally. In exchange, SOI supports public sharing of acquired scientific observations, data, and other information about the ocean to stimulate the growth of data applications and user community and to amplify and enable further exploration, discovery, deeper understanding, and effective conservation and management of our environment.
The Port Captain is an integral member of the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s (SOI) Operations Branch and part of the shore-based management team responsible for operating the Institute’s Global-Class research vessel Falkor (too). This position involves aspects of ship management, including oversight of the recruitment and management of vessel crew, shoreside management of interior and deck departments and assisting with logistics during in-port and shipyard periods, the preparation of budgets, scientific cruise planning, and implementing procedures and documentation to meet regulatory and policy requirements.


    • Ensure the ship is properly crewed, including oversight of recruitment and termination, interviews, and selection of permanent and temporary crew.
    • Serve as shoreside administrative supervisor for permanent and temporary crew, in collaboration with the ship’s Purser and the shoreside Operations Associate.
    • Shoreside Manager of the Deck and Interior Departments, in collaboration with the Captains.
    • Assist the Captains and the ship’s Heads of Department to maintain crew schedules and identify crew change dates.
    • Ensure crew has proper training, documentation, and up-to-date and accurate records in collaboration with the Designated Person Ashore (DPA) and Operations Associate.
    • Plan and coordinate promotions and permanent positions in collaboration with the Captains and Senior Director of Operations.
    • Assist Purser as needed to plan and organize crew arrivals and departures to include entry requirements for foreign countries.
    • Create and maintain crew-related policies in collaboration with the DPA.
    • Address low to mid-level crew HR issues in collaboration with the Captains and Senior Director of Operations and escalate high-level HR issues to senior management.
    • In collaboration with the DPA, ensure compliance with international maritime crew regulations and policies of SOI and the ship’s operating company.
    • Maintain a pool of qualified applicants for shipboard crew positions.
    • Actively recruit qualified applicants from a global workforce with an emphasis on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring practices.
    • Manage the performance review system and feedback mechanisms for crew.
    • Propose and assist SOI Leadership and the Captains with initiatives focused on crew recruitment and retention.
    • Maintain the crew training and travel budgets.

Port Logistics

    • Identify and work with the ship’s agents in ports in collaboration with the Senior Director of Operation.
    • Manage shipping needs with crew and visiting scientists in collaboration with the shoreside Operations’ Purchasing and Logistics team.
    • Assist Purser and Operations Associate as needed to coordinate crew and scientist arrivals and departures.
    • Work with shoreside Operations’ Logistics team to hire shore-based assets such as cranes and forklifts for portcall support.
    • Work with Operations’ Logistics team to ensure port utilities and supplies are arranged (e.g. garbage, potable water, sewage, fuel, ships stores, etc.)
    • Create and manage in-port schedules in collaboration with the Director of Engineering.
    • Assist with logistics and maintenance during in-port and shipyard periods.
    • At least once annually, visit and inspect the ship, with a focus on the equipment of the Deck Department and the Interior Department, and provide an Inspection Report

Cruise Planning

    • Assist Senior Director of Operations in preparing annual operation schedules, developing operating budgets, and tracking expenditures.
    • Assist Science Systems Senior Manager to work with scientists to plan their assigned cruise, including cruise planning documents in the Marine Facilities Planning software application.
    • Ensure the ship is capable of conducting the planned work and coordinate with crew to set up the deck(s) appropriately to support the scientists’ specific scientific gear and equipment.


    • Monitor for and respond to ship Emergency calls as part of the 24/7 Ship’s Emergency Response Team.
    • Work with DPA to ensure all ship documents are valid and updated.
    • Work with DPA to manage and maintain Ship’s Safety Management System. (SMS) which include the requirements of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, Emergency Plans, and Drug & Alcohol Testing Programs.
    • Coordinate inspections with the Flag State authorities in collaboration with the DPA who is the ship’s operating company’s primary point of contact for Flag State issues.
    • Assist with annual Classification Society surveys in collaboration with the Director of Engineering who is the Ship’s operating company’s primary point of contact for Classification Society issues.
    • Collaborate with the DPA on internal Company and ship audits.
    • Oversee the Shipboard Management Committee.
    • Oversee compliance of Bridge equipment in collaboration with the Captain.
    • Serve as an alternate DPA and an alternate CSO.
    • Contribute to policies and procedures and the Safety Management System as an integral member of the management company’s shoreside support team

Other Duties

    • Work with the Captains and crew to identify need for new navigation, communications, science support equipment and upgrades.
    • In coordination with the Senior Director of Operations, support and participate in appropriate committees and/or activities (e.g. UNOLS, IRSO, etc.).
    • Other duties as assigned.


    • Work as an integral part of a team.
    • Ability to set own goals and priorities.
    • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
    • Ability to think calmly and logically under pressure.
    • Excellent problem-solving capabilities, in particular for ship and crew items.
    • Collaborative approach to problem solving.
    • Ability to work with people from different backgrounds and countries.
    • Ability to maintain confidentiality and discretion.

Required Qualifications

    • STCW Master Unlimited license preferred. STCW Chief Officer Unlimited license will be considered. Expired License due to occupying a shoreside position will also be considered.
    • Minimum of five years in the maritime industry working aboard ships in the merchant marine or a navy, managing vessels, shipyard workers, and/or managing a Safety Management System, operations and scheduling, budget development, personnel administration, and fiscal management or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
    • At least two years management experience at sea or ashore.
    • Familiarity with the various requirements of cognizant regulatory bodies (e.g. Red Ensign Group, DNV, USCG, ABS) concerned with Special Purpose Ships and research vessel operation.
    • Current passport, or the ability to obtain one.
    • Proficient in Google Suite, Microsoft 365, ship management and crew management softwares, and project management software.

Preferred Qualifications

    • Three years experience leading or supporting complex oceanographic operations over a wide geographic range.
    • Bachelor’s degree in a technical field (engineering, science or shipping preferred), or business studies from a maritime or military academy, college, or university.
    • Familiarity with Unisea and Adonis software.
$102,000 – $136,000 a year
This is an exempt position
Application is available HERE.
Application Deadline: March 16, 2024
Schmidt Ocean Institute is an equal opportunity employer and we strive to create an atmosphere where diversity of identity, experience, and background are welcomed, valued, and supported. We believe that diversity brings about greater results on all levels and we aim to use our resources to generate greater impact through our work. Candidates who contribute to this diversity are strongly encouraged to apply.