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Senior Aquarist Diving

Seattle Aquarium
Seattle, United States Posted: September 19 2023

The Seattle Aquarium is hiring a Senior Aquarist - Diving to join the Temperate Fish and Invertebrate team. One of two on the temperate team, the senior aquarist (SA) acts in a lead capacity, carrying out all aspects of the daily care of assigned animals including feeding, observation, training, administration of medication, medical treatment and record keeping. Additionally, the SA cleans and maintains animal habitats including equipment and plants; interacts with visitors, providing educational programming and answering inquiries about the collection; assists with training new staff and volunteers; and assists with directing daily work assignments for Aquarist staff, volunteers, and interns.

The Aquarium’s fish and invertebrate collection includes temperate and tropical water invertebrates, cartilaginous and teleost fishes. The senior aquarist—diving furthers the Aquarium’s mission through providing oversight of and care for the animal collection. They are responsible for assigned husbandry duties in the Aquarium’s fish and invertebrate team. 

Essential functions: 
  • Work and engage others in line with the Aquarium’s mission, as well as our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and S.A.L.I.S.H values.  
  • Lead daily husbandry operations in designated areas, delegating and assigning work as necessary. This includes: Train and coordinate the work of animal care volunteers, dive volunteers and Life Sciences interns by identifying, assigning and monitoring tasks and evaluating their work. 
  • Train, coordinate and direct the work of temporary, regular part-time, and aquarist-level staff by identifying, assigning, and monitoring daily husbandry-related tasks. Oversee and assist as needed with the preparation, storage, and distribution of food according to established amounts, types, and diets; monitor feeding habits and report any changes or abnormalities.
  • Oversee and assist as needed with cleaning and performing routine maintenance and minor repair of animal habitats and holding areas to assure the health of animals and the presentation of the species in an attractive environment. Maintain water quality to keep aquatic animals in a healthy condition.
  • Observe animals and evaluate behavior to determine physical and behavioral health and well-being.
  • Maintain records and reports regarding assigned species including daily veterinary reports, exhibit maintenance, food consumption records and other reports specific to the assigned area.
  • Lead and/or assist with animal acquisition, acclimation, and quarantine.
  • Plan, organize and lead appropriate off-site collecting activities.
  • Act as the lead for the intern program in assigned areas.
  • Lead and/or assist with administration of medications and treatments according to established procedures and veterinary instructions. Provide assistance in handling or restraining animals in accordance with established safety procedures as necessary to ensure animal welfare. 
  • Coordinate, plan, and execute the Life Sciences aspects of special events and represent Life Sciences in appropriate planning meetings and committees.  
Diving responsibilities and requirements:  

Aquarium Scientific Diver—this scientific diving classification allows for participation in surface-supplied and open-circuit diving as a diver or tender within Seattle Aquarium exhibits only.

To qualify for evaluation as a Seattle Aquarium diver, candidates must meet the following general criteria:

  • Possess a scuba certification to the level of rescue diver (or equivalent) from a nationally recognized certification agency.
  • Possess a recent (less than 12 months) approval for recreational scuba diving signed by a physician (MD or DO).
  • Successfully pass an AAUS watermanship requirements swim test.
  • Pass a Seattle Aquarium scuba skills evaluation dive.

In addition, once hired, the new staff diver candidate must complete and pass the following aquarium diver physical exam, training classes and deadlines:

  • Pass a Seattle Aquarium occupational diving physical exam.
  • Complete emergency oxygen provider training within six months of hire.
  • Complete staff exhibit diver training and evaluation within six months of hire.
  • Attain position-defined level of diver training and evaluation within one year of hire.
Additional responsibilities:
  • Act as role model for compliance with all Seattle Aquarium safety protocols.
  • Assure the safety of animals, employees and the visiting public from injury or mishap.
  • Perform emergency first aid and CPR as needed and according to established guidelines.
  • Establish and maintain cooperative and effective working relationships with others.
  • Serve as a customer service liaison through daily contacts with visitors, providing information and answering questions.
  • Act as institutional representative in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and other professional organizations.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.
Experience Required
Working conditions:

  • Requires handling, working with or exposure to large, dangerous animals, animal diseases, animal feces and toxic chemicals.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle or feel objects, tools, or controls; reach with hands and arms; climb stairs; balance; stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl; talk or hear; taste or smell.
  • Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, color and peripheral vision, depth perception and the ability to adjust focus.
  • Occasionally required to lift more than 50 pounds.
  • Must be able to be on their feet six or more hours a day; be physically active through physical motions.
  • Required to work outdoors year-round, near water, on wet and slippery surfaces and at heights.
  • All aquarists and senior aquarists (diving and non-diving) must be able to swim. Diving aquarists must be able to pass and maintain all required scuba diving skills and certifications.
  • Must have ability to use fall restraint equipment, respirators, and other appropriate safety gear; may be required to work in confined spaces.
  • Must be willing to work evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays and an occasional 24-hour emergency call.
Further Comments
  • Pay is dependent on experience.
  • Please include salary expectations in your materials.
  • Full-time staff are eligible for Seattle Aquarium’s comprehensive benefits package to include medical, vision, dental, employer-funded health reimbursement account, medical and dependent care flexible spending accounts, life insurance, long-term disability, 403b retirement fund with employer match, access to a subsidized ORCA pass, an Aquarium Family Plus membership and generous paid time off.

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