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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Mechanical Engineer / Ocean Engineer - DSV Alvin in Woods Hole, Massachusetts

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is seeking a Mechanical Engineer to join the Alvin Submersible Engineering and Operations Group. This is a regular, full-time, exempt position eligible for full benefits.

Alvin is the world’s most renowned human occupied submersible, continually operating since its commissioning in 1964. For over five decades, and 5000+ dives Alvin has advanced our understanding of the Earth’s ocean environments, uncovering many significant scientific discoveries. The Alvin Group is a leader in the development of innovative deep-sea technologies and continues to advance methods for enabling scientists to safely visit some of the harshest environments on Earth. The Submersible Engineering and Operations Group consists of individuals who work as a part of a creative design team that fuses decades of knowledge and experience with the desire to expand the legacy of Alvin’s scientific breakthroughs. Come join a dynamic engineering team that has a passion for the application of new technologies and their use in the exploration and investigation of our planet’s oceans.

The Alvin Group is currently seeking a motivated support Mechanical Engineer to perform both design work and associated technical tasks. The group seeks candidates with a strong background in computer-aided design (CAD), combined with the skillset to assemble, test and operate mechanical and electromechanical systems. The position is equal parts creative design work and hands-on technical skills, with work both ashore and at sea during dive expeditions. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to help Alvin complete systems integration for our next major technical milestone, extending dive operations to 6,500 meters (21325 feet).

The internal working title for this position could be either Engineer I or Engineer II. The final level of the position will be determined commensurate with the selected candidate's level of education & experience.

This position requires individuals with strong design skills and attention to detail, excellent interpersonal skills, solid work ethic, self-motivation and professionalism, which are hallmarks of Alvin engineering and operations personnel. Specific tasks include (but not limited to):

  • Create/edit/review CAD models for mechanical components and assemblies and the associated engineering drawings.

  • Apply proper engineering practices for dimensioning and tolerances, GD&T.

  • Perform engineering analysis, and create written reports for documentation packages used in certification of new designs (hand calculations, engineering calculation software, FEA).

  • Able to read/create/interpret mechanical and basic electrical schematics.

  • Apply good assembly skills that include organization and cleanliness, ability to follow work instructions, carefully handle one-of-a-kind expensive parts, specialized application of solvents/lubricants/adhesives and other consumables, ensuring proper component fit and review of final assemblies.

  • Develop positive relationships with suppliers and manufacturers to track projects and manage any issues.

  • Apply basic machine shop practices including the use of de-burring tools, files, power drill, drill press, lathe, milling machine, band saw, arbor press, grinding wheels, belt sanders, etc.

  • Maintain shop equipment in good working order, keep work spaces clean and organized.

  • Ability to complete training for fork truck operator, hoisting and rigging best practices, and other basic important position skills.

  • Have a current driver’s license and be able to drive pickup trucks (or similar).

  • Go to sea up to 3 months a year in support of Alvin operations.


  • As deemed necessary by supervisor

Engineer I Level

  • Engineering degree or other appropriate discipline with minimal work experience, or evidence of an established, specialized engineering skill gained through experience in the absence of a formal degree.

Engineer II Level

  • Master’s degree in an engineering or appropriate field with minimal experience, or Bachelor’s degree in engineering or appropriate field with several years of relevant experience.

Prior experience:

  • Mechanical/Electromechanical Engineering degree preferred.

  • Knowledge of industry ASME design standards.

  • Strong computer skills, with emphasis on Microsoft Office Suites, Autodesk Inventor/ SolidWorks or equivalent.

  • The ability to work both independently and as part of a team are essential.

  • Must exhibit good written and oral communication skills.

  • Must be a US Citizen

  • Must be able to acquire a TWIC card

Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25-50 lbs independently, 2-3 times per day; carry 25-50 lbs, 2-3 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Ability to ascend/descend a vertical ladder through a 20” diameter hatch opening. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Will be exposed to dust or other irritants and electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards. Physical duties are subject to change.

May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.

Job ID: 2021-1461

Street: 266 Woods Hole Rd