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Vehicle Operations Technician

Operations | Alameda, CA | Full Time

Job Description

Saildrone designs and manufactures wind and solar-powered autonomous surface vehicles called Saildrones, which make cost-effective ocean data collection possible at scale. We are building the world's largest high-resolution ocean datasets, working with governments and private companies around the globe. We believe that better inputs in planetary models, in turn, yield better outputs and that the new insights gained in weather forecasting, carbon cycling, global fishing, and climate change will have a tremendous impact on humanity. We are based in Alameda, CA and are backed by Social Capital, The Capricorn Investment Group, Lux Capital and The Schmidt Family Foundation.

About the Role

We are looking for a few good people to grow our Vehicle Operations team. You will be joining a talented, collaborative team at the forefront of exciting new ventures in the autonomous vehicle space. The key functions of this role include:

  • Drone deployment/retrieval in locations around the globe including remote locations
  • Logistics of shipping drones
  • Driving forklifts, lifting machines, crane operation
  • Creative problem solving on location, drone assembly, troubleshooting, coordination with Mission Control team
  • Excellent communicator, team player, budget conscious, adapt to issues in the field, deliver on schedule, and interact with customers (scientists, commercial)
  • Health and Safety conscious
  • Experience Driving 30+ ft twin-engine powerboat(s) with vehicles in tow, experience at sea
  • Sailing experience, a big plus


  • Assemble, QC check, test, and Commission drones at Saildrone HQ and while on remote deployments/retrievals
  • Water operations and maintenance of support vessel and all related marine operations equipment assistance - tenders, docks and launch tools (crane/forklift)
  • Operation and maintenance of Saildrone fleet assets, prototypes and associated instruments, sensors and equipment
  • Assistance with ocean testing and evaluation as well as integration support for internal & external customers
  • Pilot drones as needed
  • Assist with the coordination, development, and execution of the Saildrone Operator Training Program conducted both on-site and at remote locations worldwide  
  • Participate in and lead ongoing community outreach programs with local and regional partners
  • Operation and development of a Saildrone’s systems by providing valuable feedback to internal teams
  • Participate in customer demonstrations for VIPs, for both internal and external customers
  • Apply health, security, safety and environmental (HSSE) best practices in all operational work


  • 5-10 yrs minimum experience in marine engineering, marine operations, and leadership roles
  • BS in Mechanical, Electrical, Marine, or Ocean Engineering a plus,
  • Experience with marine technology, autonomous systems, and ocean robotics
  • Familiarity with maritime best practices
  • Highly motivated and organized self-starter
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Exposure with small companies or startups is ideal, an entrepreneurial spirit is essential
  • Ability to travel in the region and internationally as required
  • A love for the ocean and technology


  • Medical, dental and vision plans for you and your dependents
  • Healthy lunch program provided onsite
  • Sailing and kiteboarding classes: become a certified skipper on boats up to 35ft!
  • Fun team activities including our famous monthly social taxiway BBQ
  • Waterfront office
  • A short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building for SF residents
  • Enhanced paternity/maternity programs
  • Competitive benefits including discounted gym, life insurance, 401k plan

This is an exciting new opportunity to drive your function at a fast-growing post-series-B startup at the cutting edge intersection of big data services and autonomous hardware. You will be an integral part of an A+ multi-disciplinary team scaling a high-performance business while delivering high impact for humanity and future generations.

Our waterfront office offers beautiful views over San Francisco Bay in always sunny Alameda. Your commute could be a short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building. Even our walls have good karma, our offices mix software development with a hardware production line in the former airplane hangar that was once used to film 'The Matrix'.

You can read what the press says about us:

NOAA West Coast Fisheries Survey
Follow the Saildrone
White Shark Voyage Wrap Up

Or watch the Saildrone mission being presented the TED stage

SAILDRONE is an EOE that empowers our people—no matter their race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or veteran status—to fearlessly drive change.

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