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Small Boat Captain

Shipboard Officer / Personnel / Crew
Employment type
Full Time


Required certifications and experience

  • Possess an active USCG license (100 tons or above). No candidates will be considered for this position without a 100-ton license or equivalent. 
  • Current Frist Aid, CPR and AED certifications
  • 2+ years of experience working on NOAA vessels, or similar research or law enforcement vessels with scientific personnel embarked. This job requires captains who have experience not just as boat captains, but specifically as captains for science-based missions.
  • Ability to work collegially with scientists, natural resources managers, and educators.
  • Experience operating overhead load handling equipment such as winches, cranes, A-Frames, and small cranes.
  • Experience with deployment and recovery of scientific equipment, divers, and vessel skiff using A frame, oceanographic winch, capstan and boat crane
  • Experience performing maintenance tasks on marine engine and systems; engineering/mechanical background and troubleshooting
  • Working knowledge of current U.S. Coast Guard inland and International navigation rules
  • Working knowledge of FCC marine radio licensing requirements and operations procedures, including marine distress communications
  • Physically able to lift and carry 75 pounds to assist with mission mobilization and maintenance
  • Physically able to work in confined machinery spaces and in remote and rugged offshore environments.

Highly desired skills and experience

  • Knowledge and experience with Great Lakes’ coastlines
  • Experience driving/following transect lines at low speed, especially for hydrographic surveying
  • Experience with vessel operations for SCUBA diving operations at anchor and live boating

Cardinal Point Captains, Inc. (CPC) is seeking a captain to provide vessel support to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) in Muskegon, Michigan.  GLERL operates a fleet of vessels ranging from 12'-85' in length on the Great Lakes. 

A qualified person is required to safely and efficiently operate and maintain the NOAA research vessels and NOAA shore and supporting facilities. Vessel personnel assignments, and cruise requirements are detailed by the GLERL Marine Superintendent based upon mission requirements, and vessel maintenance.

CPC is looking for a captain with experience with missions in the field of marine sciences (oceanographic missions, hydrographic missions, general research missions, etc.). Our ideal candidate will not only be a capable boat handler but also well versed in maintenance of small boats.


  • Ensure the safe navigation and mechanical operation of the vessel in which assigned, at all times, in accordance with all NOAA and USCG regulations. 
  • Ensure all procedures and engineering practices are in compliance with the current and appropriate regulating authorities' such as Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC); NOAA Small Boat Program (SBP); and American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).
  • Exercise prudent judgment at all times. Be willing, able, and capable of responding to shipboard emergencies and actively participate in drills.
  • Coordinate and support emergent repairs to GLERL small boat assets if and when required. Provide oversight during shipyard and repair periods. Help coordinate engineering work requiring certified technician assistance from engineering contractors, naval architects, electricians, and marine surveyors if required.
  • Verify cruise and float plans and communicate with the shore-side point of contact frequently when underway.
  • Conduct the vessel pre-departure checklist, hold a safety briefing for all embarked personnel at the start of every cruise day, and ensure that all safety procedures are understood and adhered to while underway.
  • Operate deck equipment including A frame, scientific winch, capstan, boat crane, Nitrox dive air compressor and small skiff.
  • Document all vessel-related activities in the ship’s Log.
  • Be ready and available for emergency responses.

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.

Apply Instructions

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