Entry Senior

Offshore Oil and Gas Marine Specialist

About This Career

Offshore Oil and Gas Marine Specialists include a variety of roles. In general, this occupation supports the safe and efficient operation of offshore exploration activities. Some of the roles include:

  • Ballast Control Operators typically operate semi-submersible vessels (a common offshore drilling structure). They are responsible for monitoring and maintaining the vessel’s stability as it shifts during operations such as when loading cargo.
  • Marine Diving Specialists are expert scuba divers. These specialists are flown in for work, such as conducting subsea construction, underwater surveying or searches, and salvaging, recovering and cleaning up operations.
  • Dynamic Positioning Operators operate the Dynamic Position (DP) system, which controls the engines and thrusters on a vessel. They monitor various instrumentation and conduct function tests to ensure all equipment is working. These operators also observe weather, wind and sea conditions, as well as loads coming on to the vessel.
  • Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Operators control an ROV to aid in underwater activities such as construction, inspection, search, salvage, repair and photography. Most work activities conducted underwater will be done with an ROV before a Marine Diving Specialist is called in.
  • Marine Seismic Observers conduct seismic testing to determine the best drilling location. They also oversee and direct the work of the seismic crew.
  • Radio Communications Specialists monitor and operate marine, aeronautical and ship-to-shore communications. They are responsible for receiving calls through marine radio and satellite phone.

Education: Educational requirements for this occupation vary depending on the role.

  • Ballast Control Operators typically receive on-the-job training. This is an entry-level position.
  • Marine Diving Specialists typically require accreditation from an accredited commercial dive school and certification from the Canadian Diver Certification Board, as well as some relevant commercial diving experience.
  • Dynamic Positioning Operators require a Second Mates ticket and three to five years of relevant experience in offshore drilling operations.
  • Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Operators require one to two years of formal electrical or electronic coursework and relevant marine experience. Four levels of certification for ROV personnel is available through the Canadian Diver Certification Board.
  • Marine Seismic Observers typically require some land or offshore seismic crew experience as a Shooter, Blaster or Recorder.
  • Radio Communications Specialists require a diploma or certificate in wireless telecommunication technology or emergency service telecommunications.                                                                                                                                   

Employment: This occupation is found in offshore environments and is typically employed in the exploration and production (E&P), oil and gas services and marine transportation sectors of the oil and gas industry.

Work Activities
Analyzing Data or Information
Analysing results from instrument tests.
Performing calculations, design reviews and analysis to ensure the vessel is seaworthy and safe.
Applying Health and Safety Principles
Reporting any unsafe acts on the vessel.
Adhering to all company’s safety policies and procedures.
Participating in weekly and pre-tour safety meetings.
Ensuring all navigation and DP operations are carried out according to company policies and procedures, regulatory requirements, OIM/Master orders and good safe working practice.
Demonstrating and promoting safety leadership.
Applying Information
Conducting subsea construction, underwater surveys, underwater searches, salvage, recovery and cleanup operations.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers or Subordinates
Establishing and maintaining radio contact with helicopter traffic to and from the rig to advise pilots of landing clearances, meteorological conditions, etc.
Passing on information from weather reports to all relevant personnel on the vessel in a timely manner.
Informing the Helicopter Landing Officer and control room of all intended helicopter traffic to the rig.
Communicating with the on-shift Toolpusher and Driller on the vessel's position and heading when on drilling operations and with radio operator, supply vessels and deck personnel.
Sending daily bridge reports to all relevant personnel on the vessel.
Receiving and transmitting messages between the rig and shore bases, supply vessels, helicopters, and other stations by radio-telephone.
Controlling Machines and Processes
Maintaining online reporting and controlling equipment use to minimize down-time.
Maintaining proper ballasting and de-ballasting using manual controls as necessary.
Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others
Controlling the registration of Permits to Work, Isolations and lockouts.
Coordinating and controlling the isolation of radio equipment during periods of radio silence.
Determining Compliance
Ensuring Management is informed of the validity of all vessel compliance and certifications required by regulatory authorities, flag states and local government.
Ensuring conformance to company policies and local and international laws relating to the operation of the vessel.
Ensuring consistent compliance in accordance with company policies, codes and health, safety and environment (HSE) standards.
Documenting/Recording Information
Recording the vessel's hydro-acoustic transponders, batteries, hydrophones and associated equipment.
Recording any problems found during the inspection and promptly reporting them to the supervisor.
Ensuring the bridge log books and checklists are kept up-to-date with relevant information.
Record all helicopter movement.
Maintaining all required logs and reports, including log of weather and wind conditions, as well as the "Ton Cycle" log for riser tension wires and "beacon" logs.
Getting Information
Obtaining soil test samples and photographs of marine landscape to assess the work location and monitor work development.
Running instrument tests.
Guiding, Directing and Motivating Subordinates
Supervising and maintaining the DP watch to the highest standards when the vessel is on DP operations.
Overseeing the engineering aspects of the marine structure, stability, lifting appliances and gear, variable deck load, and storage and use of hazardous substances.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
Ensuring that the required diving and survival equipment is in good and safe operating condition.
Conducting safety inspections of equipment specific to the area of their discipline.
Monitoring and Controlling Resources
Maintaining accurate equipment inventories and parts orders.
Monitor Processes, Materials or Surroundings
Monitoring the vessel's hydro-acoustic transponders, batteries, hydrophones and associated equipment.
Monitoring weather reports.
Monitoring maritime and aeronautical emergency frequencies.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices or Equipment
Operating the ballast control panel, including primary and emergency bilge pumping, cooling water fire systems and alarm systems.
Operating all support equipment, including radar and other similar systems.
Operating all communication equipment in the radio room.
Operating control room mechanisms and instrumentation to ensure proper position, draught, and trim of the rig during changes in variable load, routine operations (e.g., drilling, mooring, towing), and during emergency and heavy weather situations.
Operating liquid and bulk loading systems.
Operating the marine seismic data acquisition system.
Provide Consultation and Advice to Others
Advising the OIM of any emergency situations within the vicinity of the installation.
Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment
Repairing and maintaining the subsea elements of drilling rigs and platforms.
Ensuring that the vessels navigation systems are maintained and in full working order.
Maintaining the marine seismic data acquisition system including the deployment and recovery of in-water equipment.
Thinking Creatively
Developing and implementing a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) and preparing risk assessments.
Training and Teaching Others
Holding training drills.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Maintaining up-to-date knowledge of procedures related to proper responses in heavy weather conditions, structural damage, well blowout, equipment failure, and other types of emergencies and catastrophes.
Be aware of all procedures and instructions pertaining to the operations of the vessel.
Public Safety and Security
Law and Government
Operation Monitoring
Equipment Maintenance
Career Path
  • Barge-Platform Administrator
  • Health, Safety and Environmental Representative
  • Marine Inspector
  • Offshore Logistics Coordinator
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Working Conditions
  • Variable weather
    Inclement Weather
  • Road
    Remote Locations
  • Industrial excavator
    Active Machinery
  • Arrow
    Shift Work
  • Load
    Heavy Lifting
  • Standing
    Long Periods of Standing
  • Physical
    Physically Demanding
  • Longshifts
    Long Shifts
  • Offshore
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Careers also exist in the following industries:
  • Professional, scientific and technical services
  • Public administration, including regulatory
  • Water transportation
Job Details

Job Category

Marine and Nautical Services




Oil and gas services


1525, 7384, 8412, 8615

Qualifications + Experience


  • High School Diploma (or equivalent)


  • Standard and emergency first aid
  • H2S Alive
  • Offshore Survival Introduction (OSI)
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)

Additional Requirements:

  • Each specialist must meet marine offshore fitness standards and require a signed medical from an approved doctor certifying physical fitness.
  • Hours of work and time in the field will vary depending on the specialist's area of expertise.
  • Valid passport as offshore work may involve traveling in international waters and to other countries.
  • Divers require a diving medical from an approved hyperbaric physician.