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Salary: $2,864.00 – $3,701.00 Monthly
Job Number: 2020-05379

Scientific Technician 3

*** PLEASE NOTE: This job is posted continuously and will remain open until a selection is made.  Application review will be ongoing, and therefore we encourage you to submit your application materials as soon as possible. First review of applications will be August 15, 2020.  The Hiring Manager reserves the right to close the posting at any time once a selection has been made. ***
Are you a problem solver that enjoys a challenge? Do you want to make a difference by making a positive impact on the environment? If so, then join a great team that shares your interests!

We are looking for applicants who possess excellent people skills, the ability to juggle several high-priority scopes of work, and who want the opportunity to independently problem-solve.

WDFW employees are provided one of the most competitive benefits packages in the nation – find out more about us and the important work we are a part of at

WDFW is recruiting for one (1) On-Call, Vessel Operator, a 3.5-month non-permanent Scientific Technician 3 position for the Fish Management Program. The incumbent’s duty station will either be their home or the WDFW’s headquarter location in Olympia, WA.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has some of the most talented people in the natural resource field. We celebrate and value diversity, appreciating that a workforce composed of those from different backgrounds and experiences creates an inclusive environment, strengthens positive relationships with the local community, and brings new perspectives and approaches to fulfilling the agency’s mission.

This position serves as a Vessel Operator within the Puget Sound Commercial Salmon Monitoring Program. The Puget Sound Commercial Salmon Monitoring Program is essential to fulfilling agency commitments made by the Department with tribal co-managers under US v Washington. Observer’s onboard commercial fishing vessels collect landing data on targeted catch and by-catch composition, fishing effort, and other critical data needed for fisheries management.

The boat operator is responsible for the safe operation of WDFW research vessels in the marine waters of Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and connecting Straits and tributaries, while transporting and transferring observers to and from actively fishing commercial vessels.  As a field crew lead the boat operator coordinates with their observer crew to follow daily monitoring logistics and sampling plans and may participate in collecting biological data. Aside from the daily operation of the vessels, this position is responsible for maintenance of the monitoring program’s research vessels and related equipment including the trucks and trailers.

This position work closely with biologists and fishery managers in the Fish Management unit. The boat Operator works closely with commercial fishing vessel captains and their crew. This position may also be required to conduct onboard sampling as an observer.

The boat Operator reports directly to the Puget Sound Commercial Salmon Monitoring Biologist.

DutiesOperate research vessels while monitoring marine fish catch in Puget Sound commercial salmon fisheries.
Tasks include: Operate Agency research vessels that monitor Puget Sound commercial salmon fisheries. Safely transport and transfer of agency staff (boat-to-boat transfers) to various commercial fishing vessels (purse seine and gill net vessels) while they are fishing in the marine waters of Puget Sound. Ensure the safety of the observers at sea.

Follow all agency rules, safety procedures, and policies on operation of vessels at sea. Includes monitoring weather forecasts and conditions and making decisions on the water regarding safety of crew.

Assist in the coordination of daily in-field monitoring of commercial fisheries for the vessel they are operating. Includes determining sampling effort (vessel counts) and following logistics plans for monitoring landed catch, coordinating with observers and commercial fishing vessel captains to put observers on and pick them up from actively fishing vessels at sea, maintaining contact with observers and knowing the location of the commercial fishing vessel they are on at all times. Interact professionally with commercial fishing crews and captains Accurately record and report commercial fishing effort to the supervisor and fishery managers throughout the day. Maintain contact with the supervisor throughout the day to provide updates on commercial effort, observed harvest, and other information as required for daily in-season management of Puget Sound commercial salmon fisheries.

In field supervision of other non-perm scientific technicians participating in commercial monitoring activities. While monitoring on research vessel, field supervision includes making decisions on sampling schedules, ensuring sampling procedures are followed and properly addressing any and all safety concerns that come up during the field day..

Additional monitoring tasks include boarding commercial fishing vessels, enumerating catch and by-catch, identifying salmon and other marine fish to species, recording additional information and data as required.

The boat operator is responsible for trailering, launching, and storing vessels during the commercial fishing season. Includes coordinating his/her observer crew on when and where to meet the research boat and briefing them on sampling plans for the day.

Vessel maintenance
Tasks include: Insure vehicles, vessels, and motors are stored properly at end of sampling day. Conduct vessel maintenance as needed, including: oil changes, equipment installation, basic repair, and winterizing and de-winterizing vessels. Alert supervisor to any issues or maintenance needed on vessels and/or trucks.

Other duties as assigned

Working Conditions
Intermittent, 7 days a week during the open commercial fisheries, dependent on commercial fishing schedule.  Majority of work is trailering and operating WDFW research vessels on Puget Sound. Long hours on the fishing vessels and research boat require the boat operator to remain alert and adaptable to changing schedules.  The incumbent will be required to travel to and from their duty station to the location of the research boat. Often times traveling occurs in the early morning and later night. Overnight stays are required when sampling the fishing fleet in certain areas. May require use of personally owned vehicle with mileage reimbursement.  Interact with commercial fisherman including vessel captains and crews.

Hazards include sampling on a working commercial fishing vessel, transferring observers safely from research boat to fishing vessels while underway, operating research boats exposed to rough sea states with rain/wind, and cold temperatures. Launching and recovering research boats from slippery launches and docks. General marine and vessel environment working hazards: slips, trips and falls.  Standard vessel electronics: depth-sounder, radar, GPS plotter. Datasheets, thumb counters, CWT wands, forceps, isopropyl alcohol. Generic office equipment. Raingear, PFD’s, and boots are provided.  MOCC boat safety class or equivalent.  Valid driver’s license.

This position is in the bargaining unit represented by the Washington Association of Fish & Wildlife Professionals and is subject to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the State of Washington, Department of Fish & Wildlife, and the Washington Association of Fish & Wildlife Professionals.”

QualificationsGraduation from high school or GED, including one year of high school science and two years of experience as a Scientific Technician 1 OR Graduation from high school or GED including one year of high school science and two years of laboratory of field experience as an assistant to a biologist, chemist or zoologist.

Required Work Experience

  • Ability to safely and skillfully operate WDFW research vessels on Puget Sound and connecting waters. This includes: at sea vessel-vessel transfers, docking, close quarters maneuvering, trailering, and launching. Includes making swift and accurate decisions about safety of vessel and crew.
  • Proficient in use of typical marine electronics (e.g. GPS, depth finder, radar, radio, plotter) and ability to read nautical charts.
  • Knowledge of marine navigation and boating safety regulations (COLREGS/CFRs).
  • Communication – Ability to clearly and effectively communicate with agency staff and commercial fishers; coordinate effectively with supervisor, subordinates and co-workers; instruct observers on sampling plans and protocols; follow chain of chain of command.
  • Ability adapt to and remain flexible in a fast paced work environment while still maintaining a professional demeanor.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Merchant Marine Credential/USCG Masters >25Gt upon Inland/Near Coastal waters.
  • High proficiency in operating vessels in marine waters: especially Puget Sound.
  • Knowledge of Puget Sound commercial sampling gear types including purse seines and gillnets.
  • Experience sampling fisheries and/or conducting scientific sampling.
  • Experience supervising or leading scientific technicians in the field.
  • Ability to correctly identify adult salmon species.
  • Experience accurately recording scientific or other critical information.
  • College courses in science or related field.

Behavioral Competencies:

  • Experience with communicating with the public.
  • Memory, accuracy, attention to detail, reading and numerical comprehension, legible handwriting, verbal communication skills, ability to recall instructions, function independently, accept supervisory authority, adaptability, and flexibility.
  • Rapid but accurate data recording, attention to detail, ability to keep up with fast paced work environment.
  • Follow through to completion, maintain rapid pace while maintaining professional demeanor, have near/far vision, depth perception and color discrimination.
  • A high level of comfort on boats and in rough seas.
  • The ability to make swift but accurate decisions about safety.

NOTE: College course work involving major study in biology, zoology, fisheries, chemistry, natural sciences, or closely allied field will substitute, year for year, for experience, provided the course work includes at least six semester or nine quarter hours of natural science classes.  Supplemental InformationIn order to successfully apply for this position you MUST complete your profile at and attach the following to your profile before completing the online application:

  • A current resume
  • Three professional references

Pursuant to the Governor’s Directive, 20-08, this position will be subject to one furlough day per week through July 25, 2020, and one day per month beginning August 1, 2020, through November 30, 2020.

Learn about our agency and the perks of working for WDFW!

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has some of the most talented people in the natural resource field.  We celebrate and value diversity, appreciating that a workforce composed of those from different backgrounds and experiences creates an inclusive environment, strengthens positive relationships with the local community, and brings new perspectives and approaches to fulfilling the agency’s mission. We value demonstrated skill in living WDFW values of professionalism, accountability, empathy, integrity, service, and respect.

To take advantage of veteran preference, please do the following:

  • Email a copy of your DD214 (Member 4 copy), NGB 22 or USDVA signed verification of service letter to
  • Subject line should include recruitment number, position and Vet (for example: #10155 Biologist 1 – Veteran)
  • Include your name as it appears on your application in

To take advantage of military spouse preference, please do the following:

  • Notify us of your military spouse status by email at 
  • Subject line should include recruitment number, position and MS (for example: #10155 Biologist 1 – MS)
  • Include your name as it appears on your application in

As part of WDFW’s efforts to advance respectful and inclusive work environments, the Agency expects inclusivity as part of our professional interactions and communications.  Therefore; we want to ensure that all individuals feel welcome, are treated fairly and respectfully.  All staff are empowered to fully contribute to serving their work unit, Agency, and the citizens of Washington.”

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is an equal opportunity employer.  We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity.  Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, persons over 40 years of age, disabled and Vietnam era veterans and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply.  Persons needing accommodation in the application process or this announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 902-2276 or the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) at (800) 833-6388.