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Uncrewed Surface Vehicle (USV) Pilot

Operations | Hybrid in Alameda, CA | Full Time | From $90,000.00 to $105,000.00 per year

Job Description

About Us

At Saildrone, we sustainably explore, map, and monitor the oceans to understand, preserve, and protect our world. Saildrone provides real-time access to critical data from any ocean on earth, 24/7/365, and uses proprietary software applications to transform that data into actionable insights and intelligence. Saildrone’s fleet of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs), powered by renewable wind and solar power, have a minimal carbon footprint and operate 24/7/365, without the need for a crewed support vehicle. We work with governments, civil agencies, foundations, universities, and private companies around the globe to drive better information about our oceans and seas—from sailing drones into the eye of a Category 4 hurricane to obtain new scientific storm data, mapping the ocean floor, collecting new CO2 data in hard-to-reach areas, counting biomass to establish fishing quotas, or detecting and stopping illegal fishing and drug trafficking. As a result of our work, we have been included on Fast Company’s annual list of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022” and earned the 2022 Ocean Awards’ Innovation Award, presented by the Blue Marine Foundation. Saildrone’s hurricane mission was included as one of the New York Times "Top 21 Things that happened (for the first time) in 2021", and Popular Science's "100 Greatest Innovations of 2021".

We are based in Alameda, CA, with offices in Washington DC, St. Petersburg, FL, and Fall River, MA, and operate our missions worldwide. We are backed by top-tier investors in the frontier-tech and sustainability sectors, including Social Capital, Capricorn, Lux Capital, BOND Capital, and Emerson Collective.

This is an exciting opportunity with a fast-growing team at the cutting-edge intersection of big data services and autonomous hardware. You will be an integral part of a high-performing multi-disciplinary delivering high impact for humanity and future generations.


Saildrone's fleet of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) is monitored by a rotating watch schedule 24/7 365. As a USV Pilot at Saildrone, you’ll work closely with Mission Management, Engineering, and Deployment teams to manage the navigational safety and vehicle health of the Saildrone fleet and ensure vehicles are able to execute their mission.


Vehicle Management

  • Daily remote piloting of Saildrones around the globe, facilitating mission execution while ensuring vehicle safety
  • Daily monitoring of vehicle navigational and payload status
  • Monitoring and managing drone system(s) health and escalating issues when appropriate
  • Passage planning routes that are safe, efficient, and meet the mission requirements
  • Awareness and ability to safely navigate shipping lanes and ship traffic while maintaining a reasonable CPA
  • Maintaining situational awareness for any other issues at sea

Environmental Conditions Monitoring

  • Monitoring of weather forecasts and ocean currents for navigational safety and efficiency for areas of vehicle operation
  • Understanding of maritime weather systems and currents to assess potential impacts to operations

Team Collaboration

  • Monitoring and contributing to day-to-day piloting communications in the customer-facing Saildrone Mission Portal
  • Working with deployment teams to schedule and execute mission deployments and recoveries abroad
  • Monitoring and answering the Saildrone Mission Control hotline while on watch
  • Participating in daily briefs and weekly Operations Team meetings
  • Documenting milestones, issues, and notes that happen on your watch via Mission Logs and internal Passdown Documents



  • Maritime command experience, advanced proficiency in sailing and sailing theory, and ocean crossings background
  • Submit sailing resume in addition to professional resume
  • Detail-oriented with a disciplined approach to communications, processes, and projects
  • Ability to ramp up quickly on technical subject matters
  • Proficient with computers and technology
  • Exceptional critical thinking skills and ability to adapt quickly to dynamic environments
  • Strong verbal and written communication
  • Demonstrated record of success in technical environments
  • BS in a Maritime field, Mechanical, Electrical, Marine, or Ocean Engineering a plus
  • USCG Deck Officer License a plus
  • Prior experience with remotely controlled or uncrewed vehicles is valuable, but not essential


  • 8 hour workday, 5 days per week. Hours will typically match a 09:00 to 17:00 schedule
  • This role will require periodic weekend shifts (2-3 weekends per month) and odd hours worked
  • Any weekend and odd hours will be work from home
  • This role will be partially remote, partially at Saildrone HQ in Alameda
  • Training period will require 3-4 full weeks worked in HQ, and schedule in the office after will be determined by operations and team needs


This position is in Alameda, CA. Only candidates with proper permits to work in the United States can be considered. Our waterfront office offers beautiful views of San Francisco Bay in always sunny Alameda. Even our walls have good karma, our offices mix software development with a hardware production line in the former airplane hangar used to film 'The Matrix'.


  • Medical, dental and vision plans for you and your dependents.
  • Short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building for SF residents
  • Enhanced Parental Leave Programs
  • Competitive benefits including excellent medical, life insurance, 401k plan

Catch up on the latest news about us:

An Unprecedented View Inside a Hurricane – EOS (May 6, 2022)

Meet the sailing robots trying to solve climate change – The Hill (Mar. 18, 2022)

They Sailed Into a Hurricane, Now these Unmanned Saildrones are Seeking Data on Our Carbon Uptake – CNN (Dec. 9, 2021)

Saildrone Catches a $100M C Breeze to Build More Robo-boats – TechCrunch (Oct. 18, 2021)

With A Sight, Sound And Radar Picture, Saildrone Could Build An AI Database Of Everything In The Ocean – Forbes (Aug. 16, 2021)

Changing Arctic Environment Could Also Change Technologies Needed to Protect It, Experts Say – SeaPower Magazine (Aug. 2, 2021)

Autonomous Research Vehicle Completes Ocean Crossing from San Francisco to Hawaii – Hydro International (July 13, 2021)

Saildrone Featured Videos Playlist

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

Individuals who require employer sponsorship to remain employed in the United States now or in the future will not be considered for hire for certain positions.

In accordance with Saildrone’s mandatory employee COVID-19 vaccination policy, please be advised that all employees are required to be vaccinated and boosted to safeguard the health of our employees and their families, our customers and visitors and the community at large.


Any unsolicited resumes/candidate profiles submitted through our website or to personal email accounts of employees of Saildrone are considered property of Saildrone and are not subject to payment of agency fees.