Employment Opportunities


Skipper/Foreshore Assistant

Location: Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre

Date Posted: 19-Mar-24


For more than 50 years, Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC) has supported year-round education and research on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. BMSC is owned and managed by a not-for-profit organization, the Western Canadian Universities Marine Sciences Society, whose members are University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, Simon Fraser University and University of Victoria.

Our educational programs focus on marine and coastal environments, and include short programs for middle and high school students, multi-week courses for undergraduate and graduate credit, and multi-day workshops. BMSC has been the field station for award-winning teaching and world-class researchers for decades. Access to pristine coastal waters and forests is a hallmark of BMSC education, and BMSC maintains a fleet of boats that support hands-on experiential education and research. BMSC infrastructure is currently undergoing significant renovation thanks to a $3m grant from the federal government and the five member institutions. BMSC is an important member of the local community and works collaboratively with various groups and organizations in Bamfield and the Alberni-Clayoquot regional district, the Huu-ay-aht First Nation, the RCMP, and the Canadian Coast Guard.


BMSC is seeking a Foreshore Assistant/Skipper, working in a team environment with the Foreshore Supervisor, supporting sea site and marine operations at BMSC. The Foreshore is a support-oriented department tasked with satisfying the boating requirements of the Education and Research departments. BMSC has a fleet of 11 vessels ranging from 4m to 13m in length. The two larger vessels (MV Alta – 13m, 12 T, and Barkley Star – 10m) are used by the Education and Research Departments and require a qualified BMSC operator.
The larger “skiffs” are primarily used for field trips by the Education department.
The smaller vessels are provided to qualified students and researchers.

The Foreshore Assistant is responsible for helping with basic repair, maintenance, scheduling, and piloting these vessels. The Foreshore has multiple staff: the Foreshore Supervisor, a second Skipper/Assistant to the Foreshore supervisor, a Dive and Safety Officer (DSO) and thriving dive department.

During the busy fall and spring field trip season boat trip scheduling is done by the Education Program; flexibility in the work schedule is required. Our research support is also growing, the Foreshore Assistant will be heavily relied upon during these times.


Boats & Vehicles


  • Limited Master, Vessel less than 60 GT or Higher.
  • Minimum 3-5 years’ experience as a Master
  • General shipyard experience, and willingness to carry out regular maintenance and small repairs;
  • Interest in marine biological education and research;
  • Ability to interact in a friendly and professional manner with a range of clients;
  • Proficiency in boat operations using navigation systems such as radar and GPS;
  • Willing to work safely in all weather conditions, including at night, at the full discretion of the skipper;
  • Diesel engine, outboard engine, and hydraulics awareness;
  • General boat maintenance including electrical, steering, and hull antifouling systems.


  • Operation of the MV Alta and Barkley Star in Barkley Sound, and occasional offshore trips;
  • Operation of all vessels in the fleet, including deck gear on the larger vessels;
  • Deployment of research sampling gear such as fish trawls, plankton nets, bottom dredges, oceanographic instrumentation, and remotely operated vehicle (ROV);
  • Assist with routine maintenance on all fleet vessels, including the MV Alta and Barkley Star;
  • Scheduling and facilitating University Programs and Field Trip Boat requests;
  • Scheduling boat bookings;
  • Invoice boat and foreshore charges as requested by supervisor;
  • Assist with the management and maintenance of BMSC moorage facilities;
  • Assist with maintaining gas and diesel supply for BMSC;
  • Fueling of vessels as required;
  • Assist University Programs with student boat check outs;
  • Work with teaching assistants and other individuals as required outlining safe boat operations;
  • Conduct individual boat/skiff training as required;
  • Work cooperatively with internal clients such as other department heads and researchers;
  • Work with the DSO to approve student and research field operations;
  • Provide assistance and advice to BMSC partners, educators, researcher, students, and consulting companies regarding safety and sea site operations;
  • From time to time other Foreshore duties to be determined by the Foreshore Supervisor.

Other skills and knowledge:

  • Knowledge of local waters and ability to interpret weather forecasts, employing best practices for the safety of staff, students, and clients;
  • Knowledge of local marine life and habitats, or willingness to learn;
  • Basic computer skills – Word, Excel;
  • Ability to maneuver boats trailers, haul and launch small boats and skiffs;
  • Willing to work a flexible work schedule, early morning, evenings, weekends, and holidays;
  • Safety conscious;
  • Punctual, organized; and professional with the ability to interact with a wide range of clients;
  • Positive attitude, can-do spirit;
  • Resourceful problem solving;
  • Assist and mentor students with projects;
  • Possess a level of academic and institutional awareness;
  • Willingness and ability to work in an unsupervised environment while maintaining productivity;
  • Putting on the coveralls and getting your hands dirty;
  • The ability to rise above and present positive solutions in challenging situations

Should you be interested in learning more about this unique opportunity, please forward your resume, a letter of introduction, and the names and contact information for three referees, in confidence to:

Dave Porter,

Foreshore Operations
Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre
Bamfield, B.C.
Canada V0R 1B0
t: 250-728-3301 ext. 224
f: 250-728-3452

Email: skipper@bamfieldmsc.com

The closing date for this opportunity will be March 29.

Training opportunities may be considered for the right candidate.

Only those selected for interview will be contacted.