Do you like working on the water? If the majority of these statements apply, you should consider a career in marine transportation.
- I enjoy listening to my Elders talk about how they navigated our waters using landmarks and other reference points.
- I have experience on boats and I like working as part of a team.
- I enjoy seeing new places and am prepared to work hard to advance up the career ladder.
Workers in marine transportation work at sea or on land in jobs related to moving cargo or passengers up and down the coast. Some people, like deck officers, operate ships over coastal and inland waters, supervising the activities of deck crews. Others, like engineer officers, work in a ship’s engine room maintaining engines and other equipment as well as supervising engine crews. Deck hands, dockworkers, cooks, and other entry-level workers carry out duties related to the operation and loading of the ship. Workers in this industry generally work for towboat companies, which can vary in size from a few boats to fleets of up to 50. Because western Canada has no merchant fleet, jobs on deep-sea cargo and cruise ships are limited to upper level officers.
Deck hands working on boats less than 200 gross tonnes in Canadian waters don’t usually need certification. Others who work on larger vessels or for larger companies may require a Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate.
Cooks require experience or a cook’s certificate from a community college or other institute.
Longshore workers require various levels of education. For some entry level jobs, such as crane operator, employers usually provide training. Others in more specialized jobs may require trades certification.
Apprentice engineers are normally sponsored by an employer and are usually students in the Marine Engineer Apprentice Program.
Deck officers usually earn experience at sea before taking their Watchkeeping Mate certification. From here, they advance up the ranks by logging sea time and taking courses related to what kind of vessel they want to work on and where it will travel.
Engineer officers may begin as oilers in an engine room or by taking a 12-month diesel mechanics course, leading to a 120-hour pre-apprenticeship training course. The three-year Marine Engineer Apprenticeship Program that follows this training course is replacingthe more traditional way of logging sea time as an oiler.
Deckhands and cook/deckhands earn between $52,000 and $62,000 per year depending on the amount of overtime worked and whether or not their boats are unionized.
Cooks earn between $52,000 and $63,000 per year depending on the amount of overtime worked and whether or not their boats are unionized.
Longshore workers earn between $40,000 and $100,000 per year depending on experience.
Apprentice engineers earn between $52,000 and $62,000 per year depending on the amount of overtime worked.
Deck officers earn between $60,000 and $100,000 depending on their level of training, experience, and responsibility.
Engineer officers earn between $65,000 and $100,000 depending on their level of training, experience, and responsibility.
- Towboat companies
- B.C. Ferries
- B.C. Maritime Employers Association
- Independent dock owners
- Foreign-owned merchant ships
- Foreign-owned cruise ships
- Deck Hands
- Cook/Deck Hands
- Longshore Workers
- Apprentice Engineers
- Deck Officers (Master/Captain/Skipper, Mate)
- Engineer Officers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th class)
Did You Know
The world’s need for skilled mariners is increasing and companies face a shortage of skilled workers here at home.