Sailors and Marine Oilers

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.

Sample of reported job titles: Able Bodied Seaman (AB Seaman), Able Bodied Watchman (AB Watchman), Able Seaman, Boat Crew Deck Hand, Bosun, Deck Hand, Deckhand, Deckhand Engineer, Oiler, Tankerman

Occupation-Specific Information

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.
  • Examine machinery to verify specified pressures or lubricant flows.
  • 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.
  • Lower and man lifeboats when emergencies occur.
  • Sweep, mop, and wash down decks to remove oil, dirt, and debris, using brooms, mops, brushes, and hoses.
  • 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.
  • Chip and clean rust spots on decks, superstructures, or sides of ships, using wire brushes and hand or air chipping machines.
  • Provide engineers with assistance in repairing or adjusting machinery.
  • Operate, maintain, or repair ship equipment, such as winches, cranes, derricks, or weapons system.
  • Paint or varnish decks, superstructures, lifeboats, or sides of ships.
  • Give directions to crew members engaged in cleaning wheelhouses or quarterdecks.
  • 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.
  • Relay specified signals to other ships, using visual signaling devices, such as blinker lights or semaphores.
  • Overhaul lifeboats or lifeboat gear and lower or raise lifeboats with winches or falls.
  • Stand gangway watches to prevent unauthorized persons from boarding ships while in port.
  • Record data in ships' logs, such as weather conditions or distances traveled.
  • 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.

back to top

Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

back to top

Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

back to top

Detailed Work Activities

back to top

Work Context

  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 97% responded “Every day.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 96% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 89% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 85% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 67% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Contact With Others — 76% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 57% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 66% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 64% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Consequence of Error — 66% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 54% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 25% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 46% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Time Pressure — 45% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 43% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 53% responded “Every day.”
  • Physical Proximity — 74% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 44% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 56% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 36% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 49% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 54% responded “Very important results.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 53% responded “About half the time.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 33% responded “Very important.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 35% responded “Important.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 42% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail — 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 53% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 23% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 56% responded “Limited freedom.”
  • Exposed to High Places — 33% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Exposed to Whole Body Vibration — 31% responded “Every day.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 34% responded “Very important.”
  • Spend Time Keeping or Regaining Balance — 45% responded “Less than half the time.”

back to top

Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education
These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.
SVP Range
3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)

back to top

Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

back to top

Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.

back to top

Knowledge

  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

back to top

Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • High school diploma or equivalent required for some jobsmore info
  • Post-secondary certificate required for some jobs
  • Less than high school diploma required for some jobs

back to top

Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  • Gross Body Equilibrium — The ability to keep or regain your body balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Glare Sensitivity — The ability to see objects in the presence of a glare or bright lighting.
  • Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
  • Sound Localization — The ability to tell the direction from which a sound originated.
  • Spatial Orientation — The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
  • Stamina — The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
  • Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
  • Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without "giving out" or fatiguing.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

back to top

Interests

Interest code: RC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

back to top

Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

back to top

Work Styles

  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

back to top

Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$22.46 hourly, $46,720 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
26,400 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Faster than average (10% to 15%)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
3,500
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

back to top

Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

back to top

More Information

back to top

Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

back to top