Posted: Open to all internal and external applicants

Reports to: Visitor engagement manager

Status: Hourly/non-exempt—part time, benefitted

Hours of work: Sunday–Wednesday schedule, 20 to 30 hours/week. Flexibility in scheduling desired; some evenings are to be expected.

Date needed: As soon as possible

Posting expires: February 1, 2020—end of day


About the Seattle Aquarium:

The Seattle Aquarium is a respected authority on Puget Sound, the Salish Sea and the world’s one ocean. Our passionate staff increases awareness and drives the change needed to preserve and protect our marine environment through a variety of channels including: a compelling exhibit experience and engaging daytime and evening events; conservation education programs for people of all ages and backgrounds; community outreach to underserved populations; research that advances understanding of animals in our care and their counterparts in the wild; advocacy and policy work; an award-winning volunteer program; strong and consistent marketing efforts; and more.

We’re noted for our collaborative, communicative and team-oriented working environment. Our values, developed in conjunction with our staff, include commitments to adopting and promoting sustainable practices; creating awe-inspiring experiences; constantly learning and improving; fostering an inclusive community; maintaining scientific credibility through evidence-based practices; and honoring our unique place by using our location and history as a lens for larger understanding.

Proudly accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, we’re the eighth-largest aquarium in the U.S. by attendance and we welcome over 850,000 people through our front doors each year. Guided by our mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment, we’ve developed a master plan to substantially increase in size and impact by opening a new exhibit building, the Ocean Pavilion. Our current annual budget is $18 million.


Position overview:

The Seattle Aquarium aims to engage all people and communities that live and work along the shores and in the watersheds of Puget Sound to meet our mission—Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment—with an understanding that “our” means everyone’s marine environment.

Marine science interpretive divers are the leads in the exhibits at the Seattle Aquarium, overseeing the interpretation volunteers, leading volunteer enrichments and interpreting the exhibits to Aquarium guests both informally and during formal interpretive presentations.

This position includes delivering the underwater interpretive shows in our Windows on Washington Waters, Underwater Dome and Pacific Coral Reef exhibits, as both divers and dry-side interpreters. This includes daytime, special event and evening event programming. Total allocation of job responsibilities includes approximately 50% volunteer supervision/presentations; 25% project/administrative work; and 25% interpretive diving.


Essential functions:

  • Supervise interpretation volunteers, including daily enrichments and ensuring the exhibit areas are covered with volunteers. Provide some training of animal content for volunteers, oversee feeding of tide pool animals and provide basic Aquarium knowledge.
  • Prepare and deliver formal (on microphone) interpretive talks to Aquarium visitors and school/tour groups. This includes mastery of interpretation talks in all exhibits, in all areas of the Aquarium, including marine mammal exhibits, which are located outdoors.
  • Interpret Aquarium exhibits to visitors on an informal, one-on-one basis, including the use of and being stationed at a cart during interpretation shifts.
  • Develop and execute hands-on activities for Aquarium visitors for daily and special event use. This would include projects as assigned by the manager or supervisor in coordination with the yearly special event calendar.
  • Prepare and deliver interpretive dive presentations in various exhibits.
  • Coordinate and communicate openly with coworkers from all Aquarium departments to ensure the highest level of guest experience. This includes making sure staff are aware of daily logistics and know of any challenges affecting floor interpretation. This can be done via email, person-to-person communication, phone or texting.
  • Maintain flexibility and ability to cover shifts and assignments for others when they are out unexpectedly.
  • Maintain an awareness of self, co-workers, volunteers and guests while on the floor.
  • Possess public speaking skills necessary to interpret natural history and conservation issues effectively with the public in both formal and informal settings.
  • Co-facilitate new volunteer trainings and lead continuing education training classes (Aquaversities).


Additional responsibilities:

  • Adhere to Visitor Engagement best practices and guidelines.
  • Adhere to Seattle Aquarium diversity, equity and inclusion code of conduct and SALISH values.
  • Serve as a customer service liaison through daily contacts with visitors by providing information and answering questions.
  • Act as a role model for compliance with all safety protocols.
  • Some administrative work such as record-keeping for animal care or volunteer activities, including keeping the volunteer office updated with volunteer attendance and performance.
  • Ensure the safety of animals, employees and the visiting public from injury or mishap.
  • Assist with maintenance of props, exhibits and office/lounge spaces.
  • Other projects as assigned.


Skills, abilities and other requirements: 

  • Must meet all dive requirements as listed in the diving requirements section below.
  • Excellent oral, presentation and written communication skills.
  • Excellent leadership abilities, willingness to take charge and work independently as primary interpretation staff.
  • Ability to convey information about marine science and conservation to the public with flexibility, strong listening skills and respect for learners’ prior knowledge and experiences.
  • Respect for and appreciation of volunteers; ability to handle a variety of situations that may arise with volunteers and the public with flexibility, empathy and above all, a sense of humor.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills.
  • Familiarity with MS Office programs, including Word, Excel, Outlook. Familiarity with, or ability to learn, volunteer databases (Volgistics).
  • Critical thinking and excellent judgment.
  • Knowledge of marine science and conservation.
  • Ability to change priorities in a rapidly changing work environment; shift gears comfortably or when needed; decide and act without having the total picture.
  • Team player with a positive sense of humor.
  • Strive to incorporate the Aquarium values to create an inclusive and equitable learning environment full of awe-inspiring moments that honor our unique location and history.


Diving requirements—to qualify for evaluation as a Seattle Aquarium marine science interpretive diver, you must meet the following general criteria

  • Possess a scuba certification to the level of rescue diver (or equivalent) from a nationally recognized certification agency.
  • Hold current CPR, first aid and AED certification.
  • Possess a recent (less than 12 months) physical exam approval for recreational scuba signed by a physician (MD or DO).
  • Possess a current dive log with record of 12 cold-water dives within the past 12 months.
  • Successfully pass an AAUS watermanship requirements swim test.
  • Prior to being hired, must pass a Seattle Aquarium scuba skills evaluation dive.


In addition you must complete and pass the following Aquarium diver physical exam, training classes and deadlines:

  • Pass a Seattle Aquarium occupational diving physical exam.
  • Emergency oxygen provider training within six months of hire.
  • Staff exhibit diver training and evaluation within six months of hire.
  • The position-defined level of scientific diver training and evaluation within one year of hire and ability to maintain that certification.


Experience, education and certifications: We will consider various combinations of relevant experience and education in order to meet minimum requirements.

  • B.A./B.S. degree: education, biology, environmental science or related field required.
  • Two years of experience interpreting exhibits at an aquarium, zoo, science center, nature center or park.
  • Experience working with a general public audience and school or tour groups.
  • Experience working in formal and/or informal education settings.
  • Experience working with volunteers.


Working conditions:

  • Flexible schedule is required; must be willing to work days, evenings, nights, weekends and holidays based on seasonal programming and third-party events.
  • Ability to routinely lift 50 pounds.
  • Ability to speak to and direct large groups.
  • Ability to routinely enter and exit Aquarium dive exhibits wearing cold-water exhibit scuba systems consisting of drysuit, weight belt and air cylinders, while wearing a full-face mask.
  • Must be able to swim, dive and both pass and maintain all required scuba diving skills and certifications.
  • Ability to dive for a minimum of one hour in ambient temperature Aquarium seawater exhibits providing in-water interpretation.
  • Ability to stand for periods of up to eight hours while on the floor supervising volunteers.


Salary and benefits:

$20.00 – $21.50/hour, depending on experience. Part time staff are eligible for Seattle Aquarium’s part time benefits package to include medical, vision, employer funded Health Reimbursement Account, Flexible Spending Account, 403b retirement fund with employer match, a family plus membership, access to a subsidized ORCA pass as well as paid sick time.


How to apply:

The Seattle Aquarium is a progressive, equal opportunity employer that values a diverse workforce. All candidates are encouraged to apply by uploading a résumé and one-page letter detailing interest and relevant experience in our online application.

Please let us know if you require a reasonable accommodation to apply for this job.

Note: Must pass a background check, upon job offer, to be eligible for this position.

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