Saildrone – Senior Mechanical Engineer

Saildrone – Senior Mechanical Engineer

Hardware Engineering | Alameda, CA | Full Time | From $132,000.00 to $172,000.00 per year

At Saildrone, we sustainably explore, map, and monitor the oceans to understand, protect, and preserve our world. We provide real-time access to critical data from any ocean on earth, 24/7/365, and use proprietary software applications to transform that data into actionable insights and intelligence.

Our fleet of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs), powered by renewable wind and solar power, have a minimal carbon footprint and operate without the need for a crewed support vessel. Saildrone works with governments, civil agencies, foundations, universities, and private companies around the globe to drive better information about our oceans and seas—from sailing into the eye of a category 4 hurricane to obtain new data about how storms intensify, collecting new CO2 data in hard-to-reach areas, and counting fish biomass to inform sustainable fishery management, to mapping the ocean floor and reducing illegal fishing and drug trafficking.

As a result of our work, Saildrone has been included on Fast Company’s annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies, earned an Ocean Awards’ Innovation Award, won Best Tech For Good from the Timmy Awards, and was recognized by Andreessen Horowitz’s American Dynamism 50 list of the Top 50 Companies Kickstarting American Renewal. Our first-annual Atlantic hurricane mission with NOAA was included as one of The New York Times’ 21 Things That Happened for the First Time in 2021 and Popular Science’s 100 Greatest Innovations of 2021.

We are based in Alameda, CA, with offices in Washington DC and St. Petersburg, FL, and operate our missions worldwide. Saildrone is backed by top-tier investors in the frontier tech and sustainability sectors, including Social Capital, Capricorn, Lux Capital, BOND Capital, and Emerson Collective.

This is an exciting opportunity with a fast-growing team at the cutting-edge intersection of big data services and autonomous hardware. You will be an integral part of a high-performing multi-disciplinary delivering high impact for humanity and future generations.

The Role

The Hardware Engineering Team is seeking an eager, ambitious, and hardworking Mechanical Engineer to join our Mechanical Design team. The ideal candidate will bring relevant experience from the Marine Industry with knowledge of composite structures, mechanisms, actuated and electro-mechanical assemblies, thermal and power generation systems, and an understanding of the challenges associated with developing reliable autonomous systems that operate for months on end in the open ocean.


  • Owns the design and development of complex electro mechanical parts and assemblies related to unmanned autonomous surface vehicles.
  • May act as a technical lead for a small team of engineers in the development of a complex and embedded electro-mechanical system.
  • Performs necessary calculations and testing to de-risk, validate, and inform design decisions.
  • Willingness and desire to be hand-on during proof of concept and prototype phases with basic fabrication and assembly skills.
  • Communicates proactively across department boundaries to enable success of their design.
  • Interprets and applies guidelines and requirements from Third Party Authorities such as ABS, DNVGL, and Bureau Veritas to ensure compliance with Marine Regulations.
  • Works closely with Manufacturing Engineering to ensure a smooth handoff of design to production.
  • Is responsible for project completion from early conception through design and production.
  • Supports scheduling efforts and coordinates with Project Managers.
  • Collaborates with Electrical Engineering and reviews harness designs.
  • Maintains drafting standards and helps to improve the quality of work across the mechanical team.
  • Provides mentorship for junior mechanical engineers.

Required Skill and Experience

  • Bachelors degree in an engineering discipline (preferably mechanically focused) or equivalent field experience and 8+ years of experience.
  • Expertise designing for a variety of manufacturing processes such as welding, composite layups, CNC machining, sheet metal, castings, 3D printing and structural bonding.
  • Experience creating electro-mechanical assemblies and an understanding of electrical engineering fundamentals.
  • Experience performing structural and thermal analysis using both hand calcs and computer aided simulation.
  • Experience with 3D modeling software, Nx preferred.
  • Desire and ability to thrive in a fast-paced R&D and manufacturing setting.
  • Experience in the Marine Industry preferred.
  • Experience with multiple product launches.
  • Experience working with fabrication shops and contract manufacturers.
  • Proactive problem-solving skills.

Physical Requirements

  • Must be able to stand, walk, use hands to grasp, push and pull, bend, lift up to 50 lbs, and reach with your hands and arms. Must be able to perform work on a computer that requires ability to operate a keyboard and other peripheral devices.

Location: This position is in Alameda, CA. Our waterfront office offers beautiful views of San Francisco Bay in always sunny Alameda. Even our walls have good karma, our offices mix software development with a hardware production line in the former airplane hangar used to film ‘The Matrix’.


  • Medical, dental and vision plans for you and your dependents.
  • Short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building for SF residents
  • Enhanced Parental Leave Programs
  • Competitive benefits including excellent medical, life insurance, 401k plan

A reasonable estimate of the current range is $132,000-$172,000 annually.

Catch up on the latest news about us:

The Tiny Craft Mapping Superstorms at Sea – The New York Times
Alameda’s Saildrones collect hurricane data – KTVU Fox 2
Record Setting: Saildrone Explorer SD 1045 Entered into Guinness Book
Saildrone Takes the Wraps Off its Voyager Autonomous Research Vehicle – TechCrunch
An Underwater Mountain was Newly Discovered off California Coast – San Francisco Chronicle
The Quest for CO2: You Can’t Capture What You Can’t Find – Inside Unmanned Systems
Hacking the Anthropocene with Survivalist Robots [VIDEO] – Freethink
Here’s What Hurricane Fiona’s Surf Looked Like, from Atop a 50-foot Wave – The Washington Post
An Unprecedented View Inside a Hurricane – EOS
They Sailed Into a Hurricane, Now These Unmanned Saildrones are Seeking Data on Our Carbon Uptake – CNN
Saildrone Featured Videos Playlist

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

At Saildrone, we value diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive workplace that welcomes people from all backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. We believe that a diverse and inclusive team leads to innovation and better problem-solving. We encourage applications from candidates of all genders, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, disabilities, and backgrounds.

Individual compensation packages are based on geographic location, scope of the role, relevant experience, and the ability to deal with complexity and problem solve within our organization, among other factors.

All employees are required to provide proof of authorization to work in the U.S. within their first 3 days of work. Please note that the Company does not sponsor employees for work visas or permanent resident cards to work in the U.S. If you need sponsorship for a work visa or green card, you will not be qualified for employment with Saildrone.

Any unsolicited resumes/candidate profiles submitted through our website or to personal email accounts of employees of Saildrone are considered property of Saildrone and are not subject to payment of agency fees.

Apply here

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