We're Hiring: Relief Captain and Deckhand for the R/V Lady Lisa

We're Hiring: Relief Captain and Deckhand for the R/V Lady Lisa

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The R/V Lady Lisa, one of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ (SCDNR) four large vessels, seeks candidates for two open positions. A classic St. Augustine shrimp trawler that has been converted for research use, the Lisa has a storied history with almost four decades of scientific service in the SCDNR fleet.

Today, she is used for two primary research surveys: the coastal trawl survey, which operates in nearshore waters between North Carolina and Florida studying everything from sting rays to mantis shrimp, and the in-water sea turtle survey, whose biologists have studied sea turtles off the southeastern coast since 2000. Both of these positions play an integral role in the continuation of these important projects.

Lady Lisa Relief Captain

The Hourly Relief Captain ($15.50 /hour including overtime; insurance and retirement offered) aboard the R/V Lady Lisa (75’ St. Augustine trawler) requires odd hours and unusual working conditions. The primary duty of the employee in this position is to operate the vessel while conducting scientific research cruises in inland, coastal, and offshore waters of South Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Hatteras to Cape Canaveral. The qualified candidate will be responsible for the safety of the vessel and all personnel onboard while on watch, underway. The qualified candidate will be responsible for piloting, navigating, and operation of all bridge equipment, ensuring proper upkeep and maintenance of all mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems as well as deck equipment and sampling gear.

The qualified candidate must:

  • have the flexibility to work long hours under less than ideal conditions, including cruises up to 10 days

  • have a current OUPV license

  • have the ability to acquire a 100-ton captain's license and enroll in a random drug program, first aid and CPR

  • stay current on piloting and navigation laws and techniques

  • be in good physical condition and have good communication skills, hearing and eyesight

Duties are sometimes performed under hazardous conditions due to heavy seas, high heat and working in confined spaces such as an engine room. The right person will have an opportunity to apply for a permanent salaried position, Watercraft Captain I ($34,659 with benefits, including annual and sick leave, retirement and insurance).

The Lisa departs for a research cruise in the northern half of South Carolina nearshore waters. (Photo: E. Weeks/SCDNR)

The Lisa departs for a research cruise in the northern half of South Carolina nearshore waters. (Photo: E. Weeks/SCDNR)

Lady Lisa Deckhand

The hourly deckhand ($12.97/hour with overtime) aboard the R/V Lady Lisa requires odd hours and unusual working conditions. The qualified candidate should have sea-going experience and a general understanding of deck operations on a working vessel. A good, working knowledge of diesel engine operation and shipboard operations, as well as electric generators, hydraulic systems, electric motors and pumps is desirable but not necessary.

Job tasks will include:

  • assisting with operating main engines, generators, various pumps and motors, A/C units and hydraulic systems while underway for up to 10 days.

  • performing routine preventive maintenance on main diesel and generator engines, hydraulics, electronics, deck gear, rigging and all state-issued vessel equipment (once trained)

  • operating trawl winches, cranes, and all heavy deck gear

Must be in good physical condition and have good communication skills, hearing and eyesight. Duties are sometimes performed under hazardous conditions due to heavy seas, high heat and working in confined spaces such as an engine room. The right person will have an opportunity to apply for a permanent position as well as paid tuition for Sea School.


Interested candidates should contact Paulette P. Mikell, director of SCDNR’s Marine Resources Division’s Vessel Operations, at (843) 953-9051 or [email protected]

The  Lady Lisa  has been in the SCDNR research vessel fleet for nearly four decades. (Photo: Kaitlyn Hackathorn/SCDNR)

The Lady Lisa has been in the SCDNR research vessel fleet for nearly four decades. (Photo: Kaitlyn Hackathorn/SCDNR)

Longtime SCDNR biologist Pearse Webster, who leads the scientific crew on the  Lisa ’s Coastal Trawl Surveys, prepares for a recent research cruise departure. (Photo: Kaitlyn Hackathorn/SCDNR)

Longtime SCDNR biologist Pearse Webster, who leads the scientific crew on the Lisa’s Coastal Trawl Surveys, prepares for a recent research cruise departure. (Photo: Kaitlyn Hackathorn/SCDNR)

Many SCDNR staff got their start on the  R/V Lady Lisa . Chris Evans began as a deckhand on the  Lady Lisa  in 2015 and is now training to lead the scientific team during the Lisa’s summer trips for the in-water sea turtle trawl survey.

Many SCDNR staff got their start on the R/V Lady Lisa. Chris Evans began as a deckhand on the Lady Lisa in 2015 and is now training to lead the scientific team during the Lisa’s summer trips for the in-water sea turtle trawl survey.

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