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Life Support Engineer

National Aquarium
Baltimore, United States Posted: March 19 2023

Responsible for carrying out daily Life Support operations. Provides hands-on support for all life support procedures, monitors equipment maintenance, and carries out special projects/problem-solving. Acts as a role model for other staff members and assists in training junior LS staff as instructed. In the absence of the Manager and Director oversees the daily Life Support operations and supervises staff, interns and volunteers.

Essential Functions
  • Responsible for the daily operation of life support systems for the large aquarium exhibits: Atlantic Coral Reef, Open Ocean, Wings in the Water (Blacktip Reef), Animal Planet Australia systems and the Dolphin exhibit and backup pools
    • Responsible for monitoring and maintaining water levels, back washing large sand filters, monitoring/adjusting air flow and ozone generator adjustments and all other equipment vital to the operation of life support systems as directed by the Manager of Life Support and Director of Life Support.
    • Evaluates the records for daily visual inspections of filter readings, valve positions, flow rates, and pressure differentials
    • Monitors daily log sheets documentation; takes proactive measures to prevent problems
    • Monitors readings and trends in Metasys (software used by LS);
    • Manages the daily applied dose adjustments for ozone use in the Dolphin exhibit as directed by the Director of Life Support
  • Responsible for the maintenance of life support systems as determined by the LS Manager and Director
    • Inspect ozone generators, pumps, motors, blowers, chillers, etc and respond to problems
    • Work effectively with Facilities staff and contractors in order maintain equipment in proper operating condition
  • Responsible for monitoring and maintaining established water quality parameters
    • Monitors water quality in the exhibits and ensures they are properly maintained
    • Monitors water levels in the exhibits and ensures they are maintained at proper level
    • Monitors and adjust tank temperatures per protocols
    • Measures salinity and residual oxidant levels as directed by the lab
  • Responsible for the transfer of water between Pier 3 and Pier 4 buildings
  • Respond to Metasys alarms; monitors automated alarms after hours as directed by the Manager of Life Support
  • Coaches less experienced staff, volunteers, and interns
  • Assists staff in completing assigned tasks
  • Responsible for the daily coordination of staff, volunteers and interns alongside the manager or in absence of the manager
  • Sets an example for other staff members in the areas of: Life Support operations, morale, and professional work ethic
  • Provides training, as well as, and positive and constructive feedback to Life Support staff;
  • Trains staff on area duties and acts as a mentor to staff and volunteers
  • Reporting
    • Provides daily updates to the Manager of Life Support, Director of Life Support, or designee
    • Documents detailed incident report for non-routine issues
  • Safety/ Hazardous Materials
    • Complies with all safety protocols established by NAIB
    • Takes proactive measures to prevent unsafe work practices
Qualifications/Basic Job Requirements

Knowledge of water filtration, water chemistry, aquarium keeping and related life support equipment. Minimum of 2 years experience in life support operations of a comparable zoo/aquarium. Able to lift and carry 50 pounds, climb ladders, work nights and weekends as needed, and have basic swimming skills. Experience in coordinating multiple tasks/staff projects.

Proficient with commonly used software (Outlook, Word, Excel). Should have mechanical aptitude and logical problem-solving skills. Detail oriented and observant.

Problem Solving
Able to apply logic to tracing pipelines, basic mechanical skills and equipment maintenance. Demonstrate complex problem-solving skills and the ability to remain calm and professional during emergency procedures.

Human Relations
Interacts with LS engineers, Biological Programs staff (aquarists, dolphin trainers, curators) and Facilities Dept. on a daily basis

Honesty and open communication is essential

Human Resources
Non-supervisory position

The National Aquarium is committed to diversity and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience, and ideas to apply.


Recently named one of Baltimore’s Best Places to Work, the National Aquarium opened in 1981 as a nonprofit aquatic education and conservation organization, the jewel of the city’s Inner Harbor redevelopment. SmartCEO Magazine honored the National Aquarium with the Healthiest Workplace award and the Corporate Culture award in 2016. With a mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, the Aquarium is consistently ranked one of the nation’s two top aquariums and has hosted over 51 million guests since opening.

Today, the National Aquarium builds on a history of local, regional and global conservation initiatives that provide real solutions for protecting marine life, ecosystems and aquatic communities. Its Animal Rescue team has rescued, rehabilitated and released hundreds of marine mammals and endangered sea turtles throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Its Animal Care and Welfare teams participate in important research efforts to confront pressing ocean conservation issues and advocate for smarter policies at local, state and federal levels. Through education, research, conservation action and advocacy, the National Aquarium is pursuing a vision to change the way humanity cares for our ocean planet.

HOW TO APPLY Interested and engaged applicants should apply through our website Requests for reasonable accommodation can be made by e-mailing