Chief of Marine Operations, Palmyra

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The Nature Conservancy

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Honolulu, HI, United States

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5 days ago


Palmyra Atoll, USA



Since 1951, The Nature Conservancy has been doing work you can believe in protecting the lands and waters that all life depends on. As a science-based organization, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that we can create a world in which people and nature thrive.

We’re rooted in our Mission and guided by our Values, which includes a Commitment to Diversity and Respect for People, Communities, and Cultures. We know we’ll only achieve our Mission by hiring and engaging a diverse workforce that reflects the communities in which we work. Whether it’s career development, work/life balance, or a rewarding mission, there’s lots of reasons to love life #insideTNC. Our goal is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that all of our colleagues around the globe feel a sense of belonging, and that their unique contributions to our mission are valued.

In addition to the minimum requirements in our postings, we recognize that people come with talent and experiences outside of a job. Passion, innovation, and diversity are all key components to advancing our Mission and we encourage you to apply.

All TNC staff based in the U.S. or a U.S. Territory whose work involves shared housing or who are designated to act as first responders in the event of an emergency or accident, are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Proof of receiving one of the vaccines approved in the U.S. (Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson) shall be a condition of employment and must be provided within three business days of the employee's start date.


The staff and facilities on TNC’s Palmyra Preserve supports scientific research by TNC, the USFWS, and world-renowned research institutions. Staff are hired on a seasonal basis for approximately 3 months at a time to run the operations, maintain the facilities and support visitor and research trips. Board and lodging are provided while on-island.

The successful candidate must possess, or be able to obtain, a valid Passport with an expiration date later than your term of employment, proof of a physical examination showing good health, a current tetanus vaccination and first aid/CPR, and oxygen administration certification current throughout assignment.

Palmyra Atoll is one of the most spectacular wilderness areas on Earth. Located 1,000 miles south of Hawai‘i, Palmyra is a 680-acre atoll with 480,000 acres of lagoons, coral reefs, and submerged lands. TNC’s Palmyra Preserve is located within a US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Refuge within a protected Marine National Monument. The Nature Conservancy owns and operates a Preserve at Palmyra to care for this special place while learning and developing innovations to improve ecosystem health and resilience and enhance biodiversity. Supporting research and management at Palmyra is a rewarding challenge for the right applicant (see


The Chief of Marine Operations executes all routine marine maintenance, oversees all marine operations, provides training, and assists with general facilities maintenance activities. Primary responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring safe and efficient marine operations.
  • Operating a 28’ Dive Boat, a 24’ rescue boat, and four 16’ skiffs.
  • Maintaining outboard engines from 20-175hp.
  • Coordinating and providing oversight for all marine activities including, but not limited to, research, natural resource management, sustenance fishing, recreation, emergency response, snorkeling, paddling, kayaking, and SCUBA diving.
  • Safely deploying and retrieving SCUBA divers, including drift dives, in moderate current, swell, and choppy conditions.
  • Navigating to GPS points.
  • Assisting with facilities, infrastructure, and equipment maintenance as required.
  • Ensuring proficiency or training individuals to snorkel, operate small boats, and/or engage safely in marine activities.
  • In the event of an in or on water emergency, the CMO will be expected to assume the role of primary emergency responder, working in conjunction with the Preserve Manager and others to address the safety needs of all involved. This may include responding to minor/major medical emergencies, diving accidents, stranded vessels, tsunami evacuation events, marine rescue events, fuel spills and/or fire containment, etc.


  • Ability to live and work productively within a small and confined community on a remote location for up to 3 months, adjusting as needed to support science and philanthropic endeavors.
  • Work and communicate effectively with a diverse group of people, providing and obtaining needed information to ensure smooth operations, and a safe and healthy work environment.
  • Will work 6 days per week, in variable weather conditions (hot, humid, wet), at a remote atoll location, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances. These conditions will involve considerable physical exertion and/or muscular strain, frequent possibility of injury, long hours in an isolated setting, with exposure to petroleum and cleaning products.
  • All staff are asked to be physically and mentally prepared to respond to an emergency 24 hours a day. In the event of an emergency, staff may be tasked with specific duties to ensure communal safety and welfare. Will be expected to provide assistance and respond to injuries by administering first aid or CPR.
  • Will need to train designated staff to respond as operator or crew of a rescue vessel in the event of an emergency. These situations could include operation of rescue vessel for marine rescue events or performing first aid to injured persons.
  • Will need to train staff and research guests on the safe operation of small vessels.
  • All staff will assist with community chores as needed, even on days off.
  • All staff are expected to follow best practices, help develop tools and resources, and share lessons learned and methods to ensure consistencies across seasons.
  • Supervises no staff but may direct or convey work instructions to other crew or volunteers. Consult with supervisor to develop plans for resolution of unusual or complex problems.


  • Bachelor’s degree and 5 years relevant work experience in the marine field, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Current USCG Merchant Mariner Credential Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel for master near coastal of 720 sea time days.
  • Experience maintaining diesel and gasoline engines, conducting preventative maintenance, and troubleshooting and performing minor mechanical and electrical repairs while out on the water.
  • Current Rescue Diver certification from a qualified organization (NAUI, PADI or equivalent) or trainings, certificates and skills that match or supersede rescue diver training, as determined by the Conservancy’s Diving Safety Officer.
  • Current certification in CPR, First aid, and Oxygen Administration.
  • Experience troubleshooting and conducting minor repairs on SCUBA gear and compressors.
  • Extensive current experience operating vessels less than 40ft while safely deploying and retrieving SCUBA divers during drift dives.
  • Experience operating skiffs and vessels with outboard motors of up to 175hp.
  • Current certification for oxygen administration for SCUBA diving injuries.
  • Experience operating VHF radios, Sounders, Compass, and GPS Chartplotter.
  • Experience with MS Word and Excel in producing reports and maintaining inventories
  • Experience performing physical work and ability to lift 50lbs.


  • Minimum one year as a licensed USCG captain (25 ton or higher).
  • Ability and willingness to apply science to guide decision-making and activities.
  • Ability to apply marine safety to guide decision-making and activities.
  • Knowledge of current trends and practices in marine safety.
  • Knowledge of marine science and management principles and fish and marine mammal species of the Pacific.
  • Offshore fishing skills, including rigging, filleting, and processing fish.
  • Wilderness First Aid or First Responder Certification.
  • Ability to operate various types of equipment in a safe and efficient manner (e.g., lawn mower, chainsaw, tractor, backhoe, bulldozer, dump truck, two-way radio, etc.).
  • Knowledge of American Boat and Yacht Council standards.
  • Factory certifications, marine trade education certification or ABYC certification in gasoline & diesel marine engines preferred.
  • Professional or volunteer experience in an applied conservation, environmental restoration, invasive species removal, or conservation outreach setting.
  • Experience providing education or interpretation about marine resources.


To apply for job ID 50827, submit your materials online by using the Apply Now button at by 11:59 PM EST on November 30, 2022. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact Applications will be reviewed as needed throughout the year, for 3-month seasonal assignments.

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

Do you have military experience? Visit our U.S. Military Skills Translator to match your military experience with our current job openings!

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.