Deckhand/Able-bodied Seaman

Boatswain, Crew Member, Deckhand Engineer, Ordinary Seaman, Quartermaster, Ship Laborer  

Able-bodied seamen carry out docking procedures, complete minor repairs, and may watch for obstacles in the path of vessels. They also may be responsible for the safety and security of passengers in public transportation. Boatswain and quartermasters are senior level able-bodied seamen, and are responsible for supervising and training other able-bodied seamen. In the event of an emergency, they may be called upon to assist with life-saving procedures or evacuation of the vessel.

Deckhands are entry-level workers who report to and assist able-bodied seamen, boatswains, mates, or the captain, depending upon the size of the vessel. Deckhands handle lines and cables for docking vessels, and may assist in completing minor repairs, and caring for the equipment and tools used by other ferry operations workers. They may load and unload material, perform routine cleaning and maintenance of the vessel, and stand gangway watch to prevent unauthorized persons from boarding the vessel while it is in port.

Both able-bodied seamen and deckhands must be in excellent physical condition and have good vision. They also require knowledge of maritime rules and procedures, basic mechanical ability, and good communication skills. Workers will be exposed to extreme outdoor temperatures as well as fumes from the vessels.

A federal Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) is required; a high school diploma or a general educational development (GED) certificate is preferred. A U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) is needed for advancement. Many industry employers provide on-the-job training, but click on the "get qualified" tab above to see additional resources for job preparation and training, as well as available educational programs in your area.

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Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
9% - Average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $30,100 - $54,860    Hourly: $14 - $26

Note:  There may be opportunities for overtime work and overtime pay in this occupation.

Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

- Excellent physical condition

- Good vision

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Legal Requirements
Similar Careers

Track Maintainer
Typical Education: High School or GED (HS)
Salary (National): $41,740 - $61,920

(Data Drawn from O*NET)

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

High School or GED (HS)
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Percent Job Growth:

9% - Average
Find Jobs

Typical Wages:

Annual: $30,100 - $54,860

Hourly: $14 - $26