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Water Transportation Occupations Job Description, Career as a Water Transportation Occupations, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: College

Salary: Median- $42,890 per year

Employment Outlook: Good

Waterbodies have been used for travel as well as transportation of goods from time immemorial. Occupations related to water transportation offer a number of exciting and well-paying jobs. Passenger vessels or cargo vessels as well as small commercial vessels such as tugboats or ferries offer a variety of job opportunities.

Water transportation occupations can be distinctly classified based on the nature of work to be done. The masters or captains usually oversee the complete operations of a vessel. They are the people giving orders regarding the duties of crew members on board a vessel. The responsibility for the well being of the vessel, cargo, passengers, and crew members, is solely on the master or captain.

Sailors work in different areas of the vessel to ensure its proper functioning. They are placed under the immediate supervision of officers. A ship’s pilot is the person who essentially navigates the vessel along a safe course. Some pilots may be employed temporarily to navigate the vessel through local waters or at the entrance to a harbor.

Officers report directly to the captain and oversee the duties of sailors. Ship engineers tend to the vessel’s machinery and ensure their proper working. Motor boat operators work individually and operate small motorboats for fishing charters or help to maintain ship-to-shore communication for large sea-faring vessels.

Education and Training Requirements

Educational and training requirement for water transportation occupations depend on the type of vessel one is working on, and its function. The license offered by the U.S. Coast Guard is mandatory for those who wish to take up the profession.

Seamen and deckhands usually do not require anything more than licensure, a high school diploma and good physical health to be hired by employers. They receive on-the-job training as well as basic training on safety procedures.

For the position of an officer, one needs to have a graduate degree. The <A href=“http://www.stateuniversity.com/universities/NY/United_States_Merchant_Marine_Academy.html”U.S. Merchant Marine Academy as well as a number of other maritime academies offer four-year programs leading to a bachelor’s degree and license for positions of deck officer or assistant engineer. Entries for such courses involve clearing an entrance examination.

Harbor pilots are experienced seamen and licensed officers. They are required to undergo a long apprenticeship period with the Harbor Pilots Association.

License is necessary for water transport occupations. The U.S. Coast Guard provides the licenses to prospective candidates. The requirements vary depending upon the area of work, nature of the vessel, as well as the area of functioning.

Apart from educational qualifications, a candidate is also required to be in excellent physical condition and have a good vision. It is particularly important that the candidate not suffer from color blindness.

Getting the Job

Job seekers can find vacancy listings in classified section of daily newspapers. Employment journals and Internet job portals also have information regarding job openings in such areas. Applicants can also directly approach shipping companies for jobs.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

One can find advancement opportunities in water transportation occupations by taking regular exams. The level of experience attained by an individual also determines the scope of advancement. A seaman with over 1,000 hours of experience can opt for officer-level training in order to become a deck officer. An assistant engineer can rise to the level of a chief engineer after gaining sufficient experience and clearing the relevant exams.

Officers or harbor pilots engaged in small enterprises can choose to start private business ventures of their own.

The employment prospects for water transportation occupations are expected to grow at a fast rate. The increasing demand for bulk products and resources will drive the need for such professionals. Job openings will also be available due to people leaving the existing workforce.

Working Conditions

People involved in water transportation occupations spend a lot of time on board the vessel. The period of work for such individuals depends upon the type of vessel they work on and the nature of their voyage. While on a voyage, they work for half a day for 7 days a week. Normally, those working along the coast or inland waterways work for 2-3 weeks at a stretch and take the same period off work after shoring.

Many sailors and officers have to face extreme weather conditions and work in stressful situations. Shipping companies are improving the living conditions and communications on board vessels for the ease of their employees. People involved in water transportation occupations have to deal with the rigors of spending long periods of time in confined conditions on a vessel.

Where to Go for More Information

Seafarers International Union
5201 Auth Way
Camp Springs, MD 20746

Earnings and Benefits

The median annual salary for people employed in water transportation occupations was $42,890, as per data published in May 2006. Officers and engineers are expected to get the highest annual salary ranging from $38,880 to $74,360. Sailors can expect annual salaries between $23,790 and $39,830.

Most water transportation occupations have their own unions that determine the wages and employee benefits for the workers. The hiring halls of unions also help find jobs for professionals in accordance with their experience levels.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesTransportation & Logistics