Life Support Systems Technician (Marine Lab Stationary Engineer)

Job description

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science Invites qualified applicants to apply for the Life Support Systems Technician position, located in Gloucester Point, VA.

Reporting to the Seawater Research Lab Director working under general supervision, the Life Support Systems Technician operates, maintains and troubleshoots the laboratory’s 1.3 mgd seawater system and its sub-systems, including seawater intake pumps, building wide utilities distribution and waste treatment, air blowers, distribution pumps, motors, heat exchangers, microscreen drum filters, mixed media filters, ozonation equipment, reverse osmosis equipment, lighting systems, and Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) based systems for the above equipment.

Core responsibilities include, but not limited to:

  • Operates building aquatic life support systems (e.g., water flow, filtration, aeration, temperature control, etc.) utilizing PLC control software. Reads meters and gauges to verify system operating conditions. Manually adjusts controls or override automatic controls to bring equipment into recommended or prescribed operating ranges, activates backup systems, or shut down equipment.
  • Aids in the design and installation of new or replacement aquatic life support equipment (may require some heavy lifting). Records operation and maintenance actions taken during shift in operator’s logbook.
  • Inspects equipment to detect malfunctions or pending malfunctions, adjustments or lubrication of components, clean or service filtration systems. Maintains equipment by tightening fittings, replacing bearings, gaskets and O-rings, valves, sensors, and gauges.
  • Tracks the amperage load and panel balance of the electric supply, freshwater, well water, and saltwater usage, and propane usage. Performs periodic intake line maintenance and preventative maintenance on the incoming and waste filtration equipment.
  • Assists Facilities Management with coordinated projects to support operations throughout the VIMS campuses. May be required to provide trades support on an as needed basis. Participates in preparations and recovery activities related to inclement weather and other emergency events.

Required Qualifications:

  • An Associate’s Degree in engineering or related discipline or formal completion of a three (3) year stationary engineer apprenticeship program.
  • Ability to obtain certification, AALSO Life Support Operator level 1.   


  • Knowledge of basic engineering concepts with the ability to install, construct, repair and maintain equipment used in marine environments.
  • Working knowledge of aquatic life support systems (e.g., water flow, filtration, aeration, temperature control, etc.) utilizing Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) control software.
  • Strong mechanical, analytical skills and problem solving skills with demonstrated ability to troubleshoot software, compose GUI screens, and repair PLC hardware, other system components, and sensors.
  • Ability to use computerized controls to monitor and ensure that equipment operates safely and within established limits.
  • This position requires the ability to work in confined spaces and heavy lifting of 50 lbs or more.
  • This position requires the ability to perform responsibilities successfully under adverse weather and temperature conditions.


  • Experience in a water treatment plant or aquaculture facility beyond apprenticeship. (Substitute experience in mechanical engineering, e.g., HVAC Technician or Boiler Operator).

Preferred Qualifications:

Aquatic Animal Life Support Operators (AALSO) level 1 certification.


  • Proven skills utilizing PLC control software.
  • Strong mechanical engineering expertise with demonstrated skills in the design and installation of new systems, sub-systems, and upgrades to existing aquatic life support systems.


  • Substantive experience working in a water treatment plant or aquaculture facility serving as a Stationary Engineer or the equivalent.
  • Experience aiding in the design and installation of new subsystems or upgrades in the aquatic life support systems.
  • Experience working in a trades technician role (e.g., Boiler Operator, HVAC, plumbing, electrical/mechanical support engineer) is a plus.

EEO Statement
William & Mary values diversity and invites applications from underrepresented groups who will enrich the research, teaching and service missions of the university. The University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and encourages applications from women, minorities, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities.




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Job No: Position # 00367V
Posted: 11/27/2018
Application Due: 1/26/2019
Work Type:
Salary: Commensurate with experience