Water transportation workers held about 78,500 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most water transportation workers were as follows:
Support activities for water transportation
Inland water transportation
Deep sea, coastal, and great lakes water transportation
Scenic and sightseeing transportation, water
Water transportation workers usually work for long periods and can be exposed to all kinds of weather. Many people decide that life at sea is not for them because of difficult conditions onboard ships and long periods away from home.
However, companies try to provide pleasant living conditions aboard their vessels. Most vessels are now air-conditioned and include comfortable living quarters. Many also include entertainment systems with satellite TV and Internet connections. Large ships usually have one or two full-time cooks as well.
Workers on deep-sea ships can spend months at a time away from home.
Workers on supply ships have shorter trips, usually lasting for a few hours or days.
Tugboats and barges travel along the coasts and on inland waterways, and crews are usually away for 2 to 3 weeks at a time.
Those who work on the Great Lakes have longer trips, around 2 months, but often do not work in the winter, when the lakes freeze.
Crews on all vessels often work for long periods, 7 days a week, while aboard.
Ferry workers and motorboat operators usually are away only for a few hours at a time and return home each night. Many ferry and motorboat operators service ships for vacation destinations and have seasonal schedules.