Okeanos Explorer-In-Training Program

Applications no longer being accepted for 2018


Program Description


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 technology ensures that data from new discoveries are available almost immediately to experts in relevant disciplines for further analysis and research.

Okeanos Explorer-In-Training exploration for 2018 will focus on the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Current undergraduate and graduate students, and recent graduates from higher education institutions in these regions are encouraged to apply. Students traditionally underrepresented in the sciences are also encouraged to apply.

Explorer-in-Training Program Description

NOAA partners with the Cooperative Program for the Advancement of Earth System Science (CPAESS), a community program of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), to coordinate research and collaboration activities of OER’s Okeanos Explorer expeditions. CPAESS is currently seeking Mapping trainees to participate in the Okeanos Explorer Explorer-in-Training (EiT) program for the 2018 field season. This program is open to enrolled undergraduate and graduate students as well as individuals who have recently graduated from a higher education program. The EiT 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. More information can be found at http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/training.html#2 and http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/edu/explorer-in-training/welcome.html

Expeditions will occur from March to September of 2018. A typical placement will consist of one (1) 20- to 30-day expedition either offshore aboard the Okeanos Explorer and/or onshore at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Exploration Command Center (ECC) in Durham, NH. Expeditions span the following time frames (subject to change):

  • March 15 – April 15, 2018
  • May 21 – June 3, 2018
  • July 10 – August 6, 2018
  • September 6 – 21, 2018

Offshore EiTs will stand an eight-hour mapping watch, for seven days a week throughout their cruise assignment(s). 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 EiTs 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, please indicate experience where applicable)

  • 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


A generous pre-tax daily stipend ($125 per day) is provided. Please note that the stipend will be taxed by the Federal government, and the trainees will be provided a 1099 Form at the end of the tax year. Travel costs to and from the ship or UNH are covered in addition to the stipend.


Operations at sea inherently entail some safety risks. Applicants are expected to provide their own medical insurance coverage if selected for a trainee position. Additional medical, offshore or worker’s compensation insurance is not provided by UCAR or by NOAA.

How to Apply

Applications are no longer being accepted.


Application Deadline:  19 January, 2018


The following information is required as part of the application process:

1. A current resume or Curriculum Vitae.

2. A brief letter of interest (limited to one single-spaced page), which specifically addresses these questions:

a.  Why do you think ocean exploration is important?

b.  What are your anticipated educational / academic goals for this Mapping Explorer-in-training program?

c.  How do you anticipate that this EiT program with the Okeanos Explorer will apply to your future academic and/or career pursuits?

3. At least one letter of recommendation. Additionally, if you are working with an academic or research advisor, please include his/her contact information.4. Your availability for the entirety of the following timeframes:

  • March 15 – April 15, 2018
  • May 21 – June 3, 2018
  • July 10 – August 6, 2018
  • September 6 – 21, 2018

Note:  the resume (or CV) and letter of interest should be combined into one document and saved as a PDF, and then emailed to eit.application.okeanos@gmail.com.  The subject of the email shoud be EIT Application followed by your last name. These instructions are also found on the online application form.

Contact Information

You will also find additional information about the Okeanos Explorer and the Explorer-in-Training program here:

http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/  and 



Ocean floor mapping images


CPAESS CAMP Proposal Website

To submit a proposal to the UCAR Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Program (CAMP), please visit the
CAMP website


See CPAESS OpenSky Publications

NCAR/UCAR Metrics Database

CPAESS Contact Information


Shipping Address:
3090 Center Green Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301