Underwater Systems Engineer

The University of Delaware
Lewes, Delaware
Sep 30, 2017
Oct 30, 2017
Hydrology, Ocean Science
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Underwater Systems Engineer

The University of Delaware

Lewes, Delaware


Under limited direction of the Director of the School of Marine Science and Policy, the Underwater Systems Engineer will provide direct technical engineering support to the operation, maintenance and development of oceanographic platforms and instrumentation.  Platforms include REMUS autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), small observation remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), and ship-mounted systems.  Instrumentation includes various geophysical sensors (side-scan sonar, multibeam echosounder, magnetometer, and sub-bottom profilers) and optical sensors (camera, laser, spectral). The position will require frequent extended travel to remote locations to conduct these activities. Additionally, this individual will conduct data analysis, reporting and logistic support as needed for a number of ongoing research and exploration projects.

Major Responsibilities:

  • Perform maintenance, testing and repairs to AUV/ROV electrical systems, to include vehicle power distribution, acoustic navigation systems, imaging sensors and data acquisition instrumentation.   This includes the reading of engineering drawings and using lab instrumentation to assist in troubleshooting.
  • Troubleshoot vehicles computer and logic systems, to include embedded hardware and operating systems, networking, serial device protocols. Efficiently use software applications and utilities as related to performing required work.
  • Participate in all aspects of vehicle operations at sea to include mission programming, pre-mission checkout, vehicle tracking and post mission analysis.
  • Implement engineering changes or upgrades to vehicles and sensors.
  • Organize laboratory spaces and maintain an inventory of parts and supplies.
  • Lead all shipping and logistics for deployment in the field.
  • Purchase supplies and other needed equipment.
  • Mobilize and demobilize platforms, sensors and ancillary equipment on various sized vessels.
  • Maintain servers for data storage and data processing.
  • Conduct data analysis and reporting as directed.
  • Assist in data processing code development and maintenance (includes Matlab, Python, R, C, C++, and Unix scripting).
  • Perform other related duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical, Electrical or Oceanographic Engineering with three years of engineering experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience. Bachelor’s degree in Oceanographic Engineering preferred.
  • Operations, maintenance, and development experience with AUVs, ROVs and ship-mounted systems.
  • Knowledge of REMUS (Remote Environmental Monitoring Unit) functionality.
  • Basic understanding of standard commercially available PCB layout and testing software packages (Protell, Orcad, SPICE).
  • Experience (deployment/data processing) with various oceanographic geophysical and optical sensors.
  • Specialized experience in acoustic mapping systems, robotic systems, data processing packages such as SonarWiz, GeoSwath, Hypack, CARIS or MB-Systems.
  • Proficient computer skills (especially Matlab, Python, R, C/C11) including knowledge of basic scientific data processing techniques, statistics and experience with using communication protocols.
  • Experience with underwater image processing, ortho-mosaicing, and 3D rendering preferred.
  • CAD and CAE experience preferred.
  • Experience with data storage (NAS) and basic networking preferred.
  • Familiarity with micro-controllers and real-time operating systems and computer-based communications a plus.
  • Ability to deploy on multiple extended periods of two to six weeks each in remote field settings.
  • Experience handling small boats.
  • SCUBA certification with AAUS certification preferred.
  • Effective oral and written communication skills.
  • Ability to self-motivate, be well-organized, and be detail oriented.
  • Knowledge of basic electronics and background with programming languages.

Occupational/Environmental Exposures:
The physical environment requires the employee to work exposed to all conditions found aboard a ship at sea. This includes heavy weather, extreme heat/cold, and all forms of precipitation. Duties will also require work in remote locations with limited access to health facilities.  The individual will occasionally be required to use personal protective equipment to prevent exposure to hazardous materials.  With or without assistance, the individual must have the ability to routinely lift sensitive scientific equipment weighing up to 50 pounds.  Must be able to perform normal duties aboard ships.

Special Requirements:

  • Fluency in English.
  • US citizenship and able to obtain or in possession of TWIC certification.
  • High level of swimming proficiency and ability to maintain research diver certification under AAUS (www.aaus.org/diving_standards).
  • Must be able to pass basic First Aid, CPR, and Oxygen Provider training.
  • Must have strong interpersonal relationship skills and able to work closely with others in confined space for extended periods.  
  • Must have great sensitivity to the accomplishment of the field mission.
  • Must be able to spend extended periods away from home-port; as much 100 days in the field or at sea for periods of up to 4 weeks at a time.
  • Previous foreign travel is a positive.

To Apply: For a complete list of requirements and job duties and to apply online, please visit the UDJOBS website at www.udel.edu/udjobs Job ID 104967.


Equal Employment Opportunity

The University of Delaware is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Title IX institution which encourages applications from minority group members, women, individuals with a disability and veterans.  The University's Notice of Non-Discrimination can be found at http://www.udel.edu/aboutus/legalnotices.html. Employment offers will be conditioned upon successful completion of a criminal background check.  A conviction will not necessarily exclude you from employment.