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Sailors and Marine Oilers
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Description: what do they do?
Stand watch to look for obstructions in path of vessel, measure water depth, turn wheel on bridge, or use emergency equipment as directed by captain, mate, or pilot. Break out, rig, overhaul, and store cargo-handling gear, stationary rigging, and running gear. Perform a variety of maintenance tasks to preserve the painted surface of the ship and to maintain line and ship equipment. Must hold government-issued certification and tankerman certification when working aboard liquid-carrying vessels. Includes able seamen and ordinary seamen.
Also known as:
Bosun, Deck Hand, Deckhand, Deckhand Engineer, Able Bodied Seaman (AB Seaman), Boat Crew Deck Hand, Tankerman, Able Seaman, Oiler, Able Bodied Watchman (AB Watchman)

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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00:00

    Transcript: Outdoors every day in sun, wind, and rain, with steady legs on a shifting deck, at times with no land in sight… the lifestyle of sailors and marine oilers isn’t for everyone, but for those who love life on the water, there’s nothing like it. Sailors—also called deckhands— operate and maintain vessels and deck equipment, and keep their ship in good working order. Sailors stand watch for hazards or other vessels in the ship’s path, and keep track of navigational buoys to stay on course. They clean decks, maintain lifeboats, and paint and patch the ship’s surface. At port, sailors load and unload cargo. They also steer the ship under the direction of commanders, and handle lines to secure the ship when docking, leaving port, or to connect barges when towed by tugboats. Sailors communicate with other ships using the international signal language of lights and semaphores. Marine oilers are the engine room equivalent of sailors. They help engineers with maintenance and repairs to keep the propulsion system in working order. To load fuel supplies, they ensure hoses are secured and pumps operate correctly. Marine oilers monitor gauges and record data to document changes and that procedures have been followed. Although formal education usually is not required, these workers often need credentials issued by the Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard National Maritime Center.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET Bright Outlook occupations, 2019. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Maryland
510
2016 Employment
560
2026 Employment
10%
Percent change
70
Annual projected job openings
United States
33,000
2018 Employment
32,100
2028 Employment
-3%
Percent change
4,000
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016 (for states) or 2018 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2026 (for states) or 2028 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2016-26.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2018-28.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Sailors and Marine Oilers in Maryland
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationMarylandUnited States
10%$20,670$23,880
25%$33,530$29,790
Median$50,470$40,900
75%$67,150$54,860
90%$78,960$72,510


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2018 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • No formal educational credential
  • No work experience
  • 1 to 12 months on-the-job training

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2018.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2016–17.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Secure watercraft to docks, wharves or other vessels.
  • Inspect material-moving equipment to detect problems.
  • Connect hoses to equipment or machinery.
  • Control pumps or pumping equipment.
  • Record operational or production data.
  • Monitor equipment gauges or displays to ensure proper operation.
  • Monitor surroundings to detect potential hazards.
  • Maintain professional knowledge or certifications.
  • Maintain watercraft engines or machinery.
  • Set up material handling gear or equipment, such as rigging, packaging, or temporary structures.
  • Verify information or specifications.
  • Operate ships or other watercraft.
  • Assist others during emergencies.
  • Signal others to coordinate vehicle movement.
  • Clean vessels or marine equipment.
  • Load shipments, belongings, or materials.
  • Maintain material moving equipment in good working condition.
  • Record operational details of travel.
  • Operate cranes, hoists, or other moving or lifting equipment.
  • Direct maintenance or repair activities.
  • Measure the level or depth of water or other liquids.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or display screens to make sure a machine is working.
  • Operation and Control - Using equipment or systems.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Far Vision - Seeing details that are far away.
  • Control Precision - Quickly changing the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Depth Perception - Deciding which thing is closer or farther away from you, or deciding how far away it is from you.
  • Perceptual Speed - Quickly comparing groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - Keeping your arm or hand steady.
  • Multilimb Coordination - Using your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down.
  • Auditory Attention - Paying attention to one sound while there are other distracting sounds.
  • Manual Dexterity - Holding or moving items with your hands.
  • Visual Color Discrimination - Noticing the difference between colors, including shades and brightness.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Tie barges together into tow units for tugboats to handle, inspecting barges periodically during voyages and disconnecting them when destinations are reached.
  • Attach hoses and operate pumps to transfer substances to and from liquid cargo tanks.
  • Handle lines to moor vessels to wharfs, to tie up vessels to other vessels, or to rig towing lines.
  • Read pressure and temperature gauges or displays and record data in engineering logs.
  • Stand watch in ships' bows or bridge wings to look for obstructions in a ship's path or to locate navigational aids, such as buoys or lighthouses.
  • Maintain government-issued certifications, as required.
  • Maintain a ship's engines under the direction of the ship's engineering officers.
  • Break out, rig, and stow cargo-handling gear, stationary rigging, or running gear.
  • Lubricate machinery, equipment, or engine parts, such as gears, shafts, or bearings.
  • Stand by wheels when ships are on automatic pilot, and verify accuracy of courses, using magnetic compasses.
  • Steer ships under the direction of commanders or navigating officers or direct helmsmen to steer, following designated courses.
  • Lower and man lifeboats when emergencies occur.
  • Relay specified signals to other ships, using visual signaling devices, such as blinker lights or semaphores.
  • Sweep, mop, and wash down decks to remove oil, dirt, and debris, using brooms, mops, brushes, and hoses.
  • Overhaul lifeboats or lifeboat gear and lower or raise lifeboats with winches or falls.
  • Splice and repair ropes, wire cables, or cordage, using marlinespikes, wire cutters, twine, and hand tools.
  • Load or unload materials, vehicles, or passengers from vessels.
  • Stand gangway watches to prevent unauthorized persons from boarding ships while in port.
  • Chip and clean rust spots on decks, superstructures, or sides of ships, using wire brushes and hand or air chipping machines.
  • Record data in ships' logs, such as weather conditions or distances traveled.
  • Provide engineers with assistance in repairing or adjusting machinery.
  • Operate, maintain, or repair ship equipment, such as winches, cranes, derricks, or weapons system.
  • Give directions to crew members engaged in cleaning wheelhouses or quarterdecks.
  • Measure depth of water in shallow or unfamiliar waters, using leadlines, and telephone or shout depth information to vessel bridges.
  • Clean and polish wood trim, brass, or other metal parts.
  • Participate in shore patrols.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.