Director of Marine Operations

Job description

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) is seeking highly-motivated, qualified applicants for a leadership role in the Marine Operations Organization. VIMS is home to William & Mary’s Graduate School of Marine Science, and is nationally ranked as one of the largest graduate programs in the Marine Science field

The Director of Marine Operations must appreciate and support the Institute’s mission and vision, while challenging the Institute to improve its operating effectiveness and efficiency. S/he must identify and bring forth new ideas and opportunities and be able to encourage change in a shared governance environment.

A strategic visionary with strong leadership skills and the proven ability to effectively foster a culture of superior performance, customer service, accountability, and integrity. The successful incumbent will also possess poise and presence with excellent collaborative skills and a strong business acumen to navigate organizational structures and efficiencies and garner the trust and confidence to forge strong relationships with a variety of constituents and stakeholders.

Reporting to the Chief Operations Officer (COO), the Director of Marine Operations (DMO) is charged with oversight, strategic planning, administering, and evaluating the Institute’s vessel operations, maintenance, repair, fabrication, marine safety and diving programs. While the COO is able to provide general guidance in administrative matters, the DMO must possess specialized technical and operational knowledge while being responsible for every aspect of vessel operations and must routinely make substantial decisions in areas where no one else in the Institute is qualified to provide guidance. The position also provides leadership and direction in vessel operations policy and procedures and for ensuring optimum safety, readiness, efficiency and effectiveness in the use of resources to achieve the Institute’s goals and objectives.

The Director of Marine Operations oversees and manages all phases of the marine operation organization for the Institute including financial management, resource management, strategic planning, safety & training programs and vessel fleet maintenance. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science fleet (VIMS) fleet includes 4 large vessels (Virginia (93’), Bay Eagle (64’), Tidewater (42’), & Tyndall Pointe (37’) and over 20 small vessels and trailers). The DMO provides strategic leadership in planning and implementing program services and activities for VIMS Research Fleet Operations, with an operations budget of approximately $1.7Mil. Overall, the Director is responsible for 14 employees (with direct reports including; the Senior Captain, Finance Manager, Port Engineer, and Marine Safety Officer).

Core responsibilities of the position include:

  • Manages the complex operation and activities of the Marine Operations Establishes the strategic direction and ensures the success of the Marine Operations organization by coordinating the development of goals and objectives that are consistent with and supportive of the institutional mission of the Institute.
  • Ensures the Institute’s vessel fleet is operated at the highest possible safety standards and in accordance with appropriate U.S. Coast Guard, Loadline, and vessel State Registration regulations at all times.
  • Administers an effective preventive maintenance program, maintaining a priority system for deferred maintenance work, and implementing quality assurance programs.
  • Ensures responsible management and use of Institute resources, including the development and management of all marine operations-related budgets.
  • Participates in obtaining external funding for the R/V Virginia by marketing the vessel in subject appropriate publications and funding sources.

Required Qualifications


  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a technical field such as Engineering, Oceanography, Marine Science, Business, Management or related field or an equivalent combination of education and experience directly related to the position.


  • Knowledge of ship handling, marine weather, and equipment deployment and recovery to ensure the vessel is able to safely and effectively support science research missions.
  • Knowledge of Federal (including those contained in the Federal Code of regulations and U.S. Coast Guard), State, and local regulations governing the operations of research vessels.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills with the proven ability to lead a department in achieving operational and institutional goals.
  • Strong working knowledge of supervisory principles and practices, with the ability to delegate effectively, motivate and inspire staff while fostering a culture of customer service and integrity. Proven ability to manage performance, provide feedback and mentor staff.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to interface and collaborate effectively with internal human resources professionals to cultivate and maintain a culture of service, performance, and integrity, consistent with the Institute’s mission, vision, and values. Proven relationship building skills with internal and external constituencies.
  • Strong presentation, oral and written communication skills with the ability to articulate and present complex issues to non-technical audiences.
  • Strong problem-solving skills and the ability to prioritize effectively, work well under pressure, and adhere to time-sensitive deadlines.
  • Proficiency in a variety of software applications, with demonstrated skills in Microsoft suite software applications.


  • Supervisory/managerial position experience of a marine/vessel operations organization. Experience should include progressively responsible management experience with both professional and operations staff.
  • Experience in the operation and/or management of vessel(s).
  • Demonstrated experience in budget development and fiscal management.

Preferred Qualifications


  • Possession of current U.S. Coast Guard License – preferably 100 ton Near Coastal License or Greater.
  • Current Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) Certificate


  • Knowledge of AAUS Diving Regulations.
  • Familiarity with scuba diving procedures and regulations in accordance with AAUS.


  • Experience serving as a Vessel Captain and at sea.
  • Experience with Vessel Computer-based Maintenance Management Systems
  • Experience with the marine environment throughout the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, and waters adjacent to Virginia.

EEO Statement

William & Mary and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science 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 # FP118V
Posted: 1/25/2019
Application Due: 2/20/2019
Work Type:
Salary: Commensurate with experience.