Career Opportunities

Okeanos Explorer-In-Training Program

Program Description:

Ocean exploration & research logo

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) provides the nation with unparalleled capacity to discover and investigate new oceanic regions and phenomena, conduct the basic research required to document discoveries, and seamlessly disseminate data and information-rich products to a multitude of users. The program strives to provide resources, develop technological solutions, and innovative applications to address critical problems in undersea exploration. A fundamental part of the OER mission is the engagement of the marine science community, general public and training of the next generation of explorers.

The NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer is the Nation’s only federal vessel dedicated to ocean exploration. The ship is equipped with advanced tools that support systematic exploration of unknown ocean regions. High-resolution sonars, deep-water remotely operated vehicles, and telepresence technology are used to collect baseline information in unexplored areas. Real time collaboration with scientists and other experts at exploration command centers around the world enables rapid dissemination of information-rich products to the scientific community. Telepresence technoloy ensures that data from new discoveries are available almost immediately to experts in relevant disciplines for further analysis and research.

Okeanos Explorer-In-Training for 2017 focused on the central and southern Pacific. Current students and recent graduates from higher education institutions in American Samoa and Hawaii are encouraged to apply. Students traditionally underrepresented in the sciences including Native Hawaiian, Polynesian, and Pacific Island students are also encouraged to apply.

Explorer-in-Training Program Description:

The Explorer-in-training program will provide the opportunity to gain experience using an advanced multibeam bathymetric sonar mapping system, while contributing in a significant way to the Okeanos Explorer ocean exploration mission.

Expeditions will occur during the winter, spring, and summer. A typical placement will consist of one (1) 20 to 30 day expedition either offshore aboard the Okeanos Explorer or onshore at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Exploration Command Center (ECC) in Durham, NH.

Offshore trainees will stand an eight-hour mapping watch each day while onboard. The duties of at-sea mapping watch standers typically include the acquisition and processing of multibeam data and associated sound velocity profile data, as well as precise record keeping.

Onshore trainees will stand an eight-hour watch at the UNH Exploration Command Center. This opportunity will provide excellent experience with seafloor mapping sonars, data analysis, and software technology, as well as real time watch standing and communication with the ship through telepresence equipment in place at the UNH ECC.

Both onshore and offshore trainees will also complete a project of their own interest, with approval and support from experienced mapping team personnel. Note that travel and housing will be provided as part of both opportunities.


  • US Citizenship required for offshore opportunities (non-US citizens may apply for the onshore opportunities)
  • For offshore only: ability to stand an 8-hour at-sea watch
  • Familiarity with Windows and Microsoft Office tools
  • Willingness to learn and follow shipboard Standard Operating Procedures
  • Interest in learning about seafloor mapping operations

Additional Skills (Preferred but not required):

  • Previous experience in the acquisition and processing of multibeam data
  • Previous experience with geographic information systems (GIS)
  • Previous experience with fisheries or sub-bottom sonars

For additional information about the Okeanos Explorer and the Office of Ocean Exploration and Research please visit:

Three photos of undersea life and mapping image

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