Entry-Level Maritime Jobs & Salary

Jan 20, 2020

Those looking to enter a maritime career can choose from a few different boating-related jobs, as well as marine design jobs. Compare and contrast the job duties, median salaries and education requirements of some of these jobs.

Entry-Level Maritime Career Options

There are several entry-level maritime careers, or those related to the sea, available in a few different fields. These jobs vary in required education and training, but all are open to those with little or no experience in the field. Find out about a few of these entry-level positions below.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Sailors and Marine Oilers $40,900 -3%
Motorboat Operators $50,290 3%
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects $92,560 9%
Fishers and Related Fishing Workers $28,530 (2017) -2% (including hunting workers)
Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers $41,380 3%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information for Entry-Level Maritime Jobs

Sailors and Marine Oilers

Sailors and marine oilers usually do not need prior work experience in the field, but they undergo some hands-on training. Sailors perform routine maintenance on a vessel, help operate deck equipment, load cargo and stand watch to ensure there are no collisions with the vessel. Marine oilers work with engineers in the engine room, where they lubricate parts of the engine, perform necessary maintenance, assist with repairs and monitor gauges. Sailors and marine oilers have no formal education requirements, but they may need the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) from the Transportation Security Administration. The Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) from the U.S. Coast Guard may also be required.

Motorboat Operators

Motorboat operators generally do not need previous work experience to direct smaller boats with passengers. These operators may lead tours, fishing charters or harbor patrols, which requires them to pick up passengers and help the passengers as needed. They also maintain their boat, including checking and changing the oil, filling it with gas and making any necessary repairs. Motorboat operators may need the TWIC from the Transportation Security Administration and any other related endorsement, like the MMC.

Marine Engineers and Naval Architects

Marine engineers and naval architects are not required to have prior work experience in the field and do not need to complete on-the-job training. They create the designs for and help build and maintain a wide range of marine vessels, such as submarines or large ships. Marine engineers typically prepare and design the inner workings of a vessel, including steering systems and propulsion, while naval architects design the vessel according to specific standards and specifications based on its intended use. These professionals need to have at least a bachelor's degree in their respective field or a closely related field, like electrical engineering.

Fishers and Related Fishing Workers

Fishers and other fishing workers do not need work experience, but they usually undergo moderate-term on-the-job training. These workers navigate their vessels and use special fishing equipment to locate large schools of fish, lobsters or other sea creatures to capture with nets and cages. Fishers maintain their vessels and equipment, ensure that all of their catches meet regulations and store their catches with ice. Fishers and related fishing workers do not need a formal education.

Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers

Some welders, cutters, solderers and brazers may specialize in working on ships and other marine vessels, and they do not need previous work experience in a related job to do so. These professionals work with various metals and either join metal pieces together and make repairs or cut metal apart with special equipment. They must carefully study designs and calculate the dimensions of the pieces they are working with and ensure that their torches and other tools do not overheat during the process. These workers will complete some on-the-job training, but they generally only need a high school diploma.

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