Chief of Marine Operations, Palmyra

Chief of Marine Operations, Palmyra

Type of offer:

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.
Location: Hawaii
Organization: The Nature Conservancy
Deadline: November 30, 2022
External website link: