Water transportation workers operate and maintain vessels that take cargo and people over water. The vessels travel to and from foreign ports across the ocean and to domestic ports along the coasts, across the Great Lakes, and along the country's many inland waterways.
Water transportation workers usually work for long periods and can be exposed to all kinds of weather.
Education and training requirements vary by the type of job. There are no educational requirements for entry-level sailors and oilers, but officers and engineers usually must have an endorsement certificate from the U.S. Coast Guard. Most water transportation jobs require the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) from the Transportation Security Administration and a Merchant Marine Credential (MMC).
The median annual wage for water transportation workers was $55,000 in May 2015.
Employment of water transportation workers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. The growing demand for bulk commodities such as iron ore, grain, and petroleum should increase the need for these workers.
Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for water transportation workers.
Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of water transportation workers with similar occupations.
Learn more about water transportation workers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.