Job description: Whale Watch Naturalist / First Mate


Boat Naturalists are expected to educate, inform and monitor all passengers during our 3-4 hour tours. Presenting information on whales (resident-, transient-, offshore-Orca, Gray, Humpback & Minke), marine mammals, birds, general ecology, whale watching guidelines (their importance and history). The Naturalist is also the acting First Mate on the vessel, responsible to help the Captain in any way. Pre- and post-trip boat cleaning are also an important part of the tour. Some hours will be spent working at the sales/appointment desk. Must be available evenings and weekends.

Major Duties:

1. Perform duties as First Mate to Captain, which may include the safety talk prior to vessel leaving the dock

2. Educate and inform clients about Puget Sound wildlife, natural history, marine mammals, whales, general ecology and other flora and fauna

3. Monitor all passengers to assure they are comfortable, warm and safe. Know where books, binoculars, blankets and jackets are, and keep guests well informed

4. Clean and prepare vessel pre- and post-trip

5. Responsible to continue learning new material on all local whales, marine mammals, birds and the Puget Sound area, in order to work towards becoming an expert in their field

6. Work at the Sales and Appointment Desk taking payment, making reservations, answering phones and selling tours.


1. Background in natural sciences preferred. Studies in marine biology, geology, cetaceans, marine mammals, general ecology, and ornithology are preferred fields of study

2. Working knowledge of boats, and experience working on open water

3. College education preferred with a background in marine sciences, biology, zoology, and outdoor education are all strong prerequisites

4. Familiarity with the Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) guidelines

5. The Whale Museum’s Naturalist Training Class helpful


1. People oriented, strong communication/public speaking skills, education experience or background

2. Strong work ethic and team-oriented skills are a must

3. Must enjoy educating diverse audiences about wildlife and other subjects


1. Able to work long hours - 10 hours/daily 50+ hours/weekly

2. Physically fit and able to be on your feet during a full day’s work

3. Able to lift 50 lbs comfortably and up to 80 lbs with the help of a co-worker


1. 21-years of age or older

2. Must adhere to company dress code

3. Must have current first aid and CPR certification

4. Subject to pre-employment and/or random drug testing

5. Land line and/or cell phone with voice mail

6. Check email daily for schedule updates

7. Non-smoker

8. Reliable transportation

9. No photography while on duty

10. Available Saturdays, Sundays, evenings and holidays

11. No personal cell phone use or texting while on the clock

Pay and Benefits:

Starting wage of $16 per hour, plus tips. Work in a world-class outdoor marine environment with likeminded people and abundant wildlife. Discounts on outdoor gear and local restaurant. Free whale watching tours on a "space available" basis, discounts for family and friends. WiFi access and computer use, training, flexible schedule.