Ocean Career: Lead Hydrographer – Coastal at Saildrone

At Saildrone, we sustainably explore, map, and monitor the oceans to understand, preserve, and protect our world. Saildrone provides real-time access to critical data from any ocean on earth, 24/7/365, and uses proprietary software applications to transform that data into actionable insights and intelligence. Saildrone’s fleet of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs), powered by renewable wind and solar power, have a minimal carbon footprint and operate 24/7/365, without the need for a crewed support vehicle.

We work with governments, civil agencies, foundations, universities, and private companies around the globe to drive better information about our oceans and seas—from sailing drones into the eye of a Category 4 hurricane to obtain new scientific storm data, mapping the ocean floor, collecting new CO2 data in hard-to-reach areas, counting biomass to establish fishing quotas, or detecting and stopping illegal fishing and drug trafficking. As a result of our work, we have been included on Fast Company’s annual list of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022” and earned the 2022 Ocean Awards’ Innovation Award, presented by the Blue Marine Foundation. Saildrone’s hurricane mission was included as one of the New York Times "Top 21 Things that happened (for the first time) in 2021", and Popular Science's "100 Greatest Innovations of 2021".

We are based in Alameda, CA, with offices in Washington DC, St. Petersburg, FL, and Fall River, MA, and operate our missions worldwide. We are backed by top-tier investors in the frontier-tech and sustainability sectors, including Social Capital, Capricorn, Lux Capital, BOND Capital, and Emerson Collective.

This is an exciting opportunity with a fast-growing team at the cutting-edge intersection of big data services and autonomous hardware. You will be an integral part of a high-performing multi-disciplinary delivering high impact for humanity and future generations.

Job Description

Saildrone is seeking an experienced, certified hydrographer responsible for the management of all tasks for the assigned survey(s). Supervises all team members in the performance of their duties including data QA/QC, equipment setup/calibration, data acquisition, data processing, equipment maintenance, and production of final deliverables/report. Lead Hydrographer is the final certifying signature that the survey has been completed according to the specifications set out in the contract.

Role Responsibilities

As a Lead Hydrographer - Coastal, your primary responsibilities will include direct oversight of hydrographic surveys, including survey line planning, mission preparation, mission execution, training of survey watchstanders, and successful completion of surveys. Additional responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Coordinating and directing contracted survey watchstanders in their roles and responsibilities.
  • Communicating with customers and applicable Saildrone personnel regarding the status of the survey, troubleshooting and resolving issues to ensure schedules are maintained.
  • Providing daily survey updates in the Saildrone Mission Log for the team and customers
  • Serving as a member of a collaborative team for development and testing of new vehicles, sensors and procedures
  • Working with Bathymetry Technical Program Manager, Bathymetry Operations Manager and Bathymetry Data Manager to ensure mission success
  • Keeping up to date on latest IHO and national data standards and survey procedures

Required Skills

  • Category A Hydrographer Certification
  • NSPS-THSOA Certified Hydrographer
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher in Hydrography, Oceanography, Geomatics, Remote Sensing or related discipline
  • 5 or more years experience leading hydrographic/bathymetric survey teams as lead surveyor
  • 5 or more years of experience processing bathymetric/hydrographic data with Qimera or CARIS
  • Familiarity with Norbit multibeam systems
  • Familiarity with acquisition software such as Qinsy, Norbit DCT, etc
  • Possess excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to work periodically irregular hours, rotating weekends, and shift work.
  • Candidate is detail-oriented with a disciplined approach to communications, processes, and projects.
  • Experienced problem solver unafraid of learning new skills and technologies.
  • Ability to keep up to date on latest IHO and national data standards and survey procedures
  • Interest and passion for new technology applications for ocean mapping

Desired Skills and Abilities

  • Licensed as a Professional Land Surveyor or Engineer
  • Experience using uncrewed surface vehicles or other autonomous systems for survey operations


This position is in St. Petersburg, FL. Remote work is possible. Only candidates with proper permits to work in the United States can be considered.


  • Medical, dental and vision plans for you and your dependents.
  • Enhanced Parental Leave Programs
  • Competitive benefits including excellent medical, life insurance, 401k plan

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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