Job Application - Northwest Maritime Center

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Educational Vessel Captain / Instructor - Spring & Summer (SEASONAL)

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This seasonal position (early April to July) is made for you if you love working with students exploring the ways of the sea through activities like tying knots, geeking out on points of sail, and elucidating on the finer points of rowing enlightenment. As the Captain/Instructoryou’ll work with middle and high school students. In the Spring season, you will provide leadership and instruction for on-water and on-land school programs, covering maritime skills training and team-building opportunities. Then you’ll spend your summer on longboat expeditions empowering youth as they learn the arts of trip planning, navigation, rowing, and sailing as well as the crafts of camping and cooking on shore.


We love working with team members who:

  • have a proactive work ethic– willing to jump in and help in any aspect of programming when necessary.
  • love to create a fun, inclusive, and safe atmosphere for learning.
  • work well both individually and as a team member, as well as independently with small groups of students.
  • communicate clearly, work collaboratively, and are flexible in dynamic situations.



  • Teach maritime skills on the water and on land in a hands-on and engaging way to elementary, middle, and high school students
  • Work collaboratively with the Education Program Managers, students, and other instructors in delivering a high-quality maritime learning experience
  • Support the training and maritime skill development of longboat mates and junior instructors
  • Accountable for inventory and proper usage of all NWMC gear
  • Complete required documentation, reporting, and paperwork in a timely manner
  • Work with the Programs Operations Coordinator to support logistics and maintenance needs of the program gear and boats as needed 
  • Follow all Safety and Risk Management Protocols
  • Other duties as assigned 


The Captain/Instructor is a role model for program participants and seasonal staff and is expected through clear communication and leadership to foster safety, teamwork, inclusion, and superior experiential learning opportunities. We strive to meet the needs of and serve all learners including youth-at-risk, special needs learners, and other underserved populations. The Captain is responsible for the vessel and equipment, and the people on board. Programs take place aboard 26-foot historic longboats, and other small boats as well as at the NWMC facility.



Longboat expeditions are self-contained, experiential learning overnight trips for teens operating for 3-7 days in the San Juan Islands. The captain and mate work together to support the skill building and teamwork of the crew as they learn to row and sail the longboat; route plan and navigate; anchor and set up camp; sleep aboard and ashore; set up expedition kitchens and cook meals; and organize and care for their food and gear. While the instructors work as a team, the captain's focus is primarily on the safe operation of the vessel while the mate's role is supporting the shore camping, crew morale, and expedition kitchen. In addition, there are daily activities that focus on team building, social skills, and marine science and natural history.


  • Plan the expedition route, building in course area knowledge of weather, tides and currents, public camping, and safe anchorages, with support from the Education Program Co-Managers
  • Support the organization and packing of expedition equipment and supplies, and the cleaning and storing post-expedition, with the support of the Program Operations Coordinator
  • Organize and track gear and supplies during the expeditions, with emphasis on boat equipment 
  • Support students as they learn the skills of expedition planning including reading weather, tides and currents, and navigational charts
  • Build and maintain group morale with a sense of compassion and empathy; this may include teaching skills in expedition self and group care (water, clothing, food, shelter), as well as supporting group relationships, conflict resolution, and daily reflections
  • Communicate with designated shore-side support staff daily


While this position’s primary responsibility is in maritime instruction, the Captain/Instructor will work as part of the NWMC team to ensure smooth operations for the organization as a whole. This could include providing information to visitors to the Maritime Center and helping out in projects and events that require all-hands-on-deck, to helping tie up a vessel coming into our dock because you happen to be standing there. We all pitch in for the heavy lifting now and then—sometimes this is metaphoric; occasionally we all have to actually help lift something heavy.



  • Current 25-ton (or greater) USCG Captains license
  • Maritime education experience on both the water and land, especially working with a variety of youth in experiential and alternative learning environments
  • Basic first aid/CPR certification or training plan. Wilderness First Aid or higher is required for overnight voyages (this needs to be obtained before summer expeditions)
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Work offers are contingent on a satisfactory pre-employment background check and drug test. The NWMC boat-based programs are drug, alcohol, and tobacco-free. Throughout employment with the Northwest Maritime Center, certain boat-based program employees will be enrolled in a random drug testing program administered by the Maritime Consortium, in compliance with the Coast Guard mandatory drug testing regulation, as contained in 46 CFR part 16.



  • Relevant experience in local waters of Puget Sound, San Juan Islands, or program area
  • Sailing Endorsement on USCG Captain’s License
  • Experience teaching marine/environmental science
  • Experience operating a vessel while carrying out science sampling



  • Submit resume with online application
  • Deadline for applications: Open until filled, application review begins February 1, 2023
  • One application submission could be used for multiple positions, if interested in additional positions please note that during the application process



  • Position is seasonal, dates & locations:
    • Spring, based on the Port Townsend Campus: Early April to Mid-June 2023 – schedule varies based on needs of the program, averaging 50 to 100 hours per month
    • Summer, starting in Port Townsend with expeditions throughout the San Juan Islands: Late June and July 2023 – expeditions from 3 to 7 days in length with unpaid time off between trips
  • Main NWMC Campus is located at 431 Water St., Port Townsend, WA 98368
  • Reports to: Education Program Co-Managers



  • $23-25.50 per hour (Spring), $230-255 overnight expedition daily rate (Summer), paid semi-monthly
  • Sick time accrued at a rate of 1 hour for every 25 hours worked
  • Employee discounts on classes and in NWMC-run retail stores
  • Subsidized housing (you pay $250/month in rent). Housing option includes a bed in a shared room in the crew house in Port Townsend. There is a shared kitchen, 2 bathrooms, and laundry facilities. During summer season programs, you may be sleeping at the house or on a boat.
  • Meals while running an overnight program are provided (in Summer), otherwise, you will be responsible for providing your own food.
  • Season completion bonus: $500 payable at the end of the successful completion of the Spring and Summer seasons



  • Following all local, state, and federal guidelines to keep everyone safe
  • All education staff are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 including booster or have a medical exemption, verification is required



There are rare moments when organizations have the combination of a talented and motivated staff, an engaged board, a healthy and productive work culture, are executing well on existing programs but still innovating and looking for the next step—we’re in that moment, and it’s exciting.


The NWMC is dynamic, making a difference in our community, and taking an increasing role in the region. We serve individual students and program participants, but we also work to help solve community problems like systemic improvements in our public schools, economic development, job training, and working regionally to pair the opportunities in the maritime industry with the need to address systemic oppression in communities of color. Plus, all of the fun stuff like kids’ programs, festivals, and adventure races. Our waterfront campus is vibrant with a multitude of compelling activities, and all of them done to meet or advance industry best practices. In the words of a board member: “We don’t do B work.”


On top of it all, you’d get to work on the water in Port Townsend: natural beauty, heritage buildings, arts community, wooden boats, zero traffic jams. The Northwest Maritime Center’s relative scale to our small town means that the effects of our success can be observed in the success of our community. You’ll be doing meaningful work for the place you live and your efforts will make a tangible difference.


Right team, right moment, the right momentum, and the chance to move the needle for the prosperity of an entire community: That’s why we get excited to come to work in the morning, and that’s why we think you should want to be here too.


The Northwest Maritime Center is an equal-opportunity employer that welcomes and encourages individuals of all cultures and communities to apply. Read our Anti-Racism & Inclusion statement here.