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Details for 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.


  • Break out, rig, and stow cargo-handling gear, stationary rigging, and running gear.
  • Lubricate machinery, equipment, and engine parts such as gears, shafts, and bearings.
  • Overhaul lifeboats and lifeboat gear, and lower or raise lifeboats with winches or falls.
  • Splice and repair ropes, wire cables, and cordage, using marlinespikes, wirecutters, twine, and hand tools.
  • Give directions to crew members engaged in cleaning wheelhouses and quarterdecks.
  • Record in ships' logs data such as weather conditions and distances traveled.
  • Steer ships under the direction of commanders or navigating officers, or direct helmsmen to steer, following designated courses.
  • Chip and clean rust spots on decks, superstructures, and sides of ships, using wire brushes and hand or air chipping machines.
  • Clean and polish wood trim, brass, and other metal parts.
  • Examine machinery to verify specified pressures and lubricant flows.
  • Handle lines to moor vessels to wharfs, to tie up vessels to other vessels, or to rig towing lines.
  • Maintain a ship's engines under the direction of the ship's engineering officers.
  • Measure depth of water in shallow or unfamiliar waters, using leadlines, and telephone or shout depth information to vessel bridges.
  • Operate, maintain, and repair ship equipment such as winches, cranes, derricks, and weapons system.
  • Paint or varnish decks, superstructures, lifeboats, or sides of ships.
  • Provide engineers with assistance in repairing and adjusting machinery.
  • Relay specified signals to other ships, using visual signaling devices such as blinker lights and semaphores.
  • Stand watch in ships' bows or bridge wings in order to look for obstructions in a ship's path or to locate navigational aids such as buoys and lighthouses.
  • Sweep, mop, and wash down decks to remove oil, dirt, and debris, using brooms, mops, brushes, and hoses.
  • Attach hoses and operate pumps in order to transfer substances to and from liquid cargo tanks.
  • Load or unload materials from vessels.
  • Lower and man lifeboats when emergencies occur.
  • Participate in shore patrols.
  • Read pressure and temperature gauges or displays, and record data in engineering logs.
  • Stand by wheels when ships are on automatic pilot, and verify accuracy of courses, using magnetic compasses.
  • Stand gangway watches to prevent unauthorized persons from boarding ships while they are in port.
  • Tie barges together into tow units for tugboats to handle, inspecting barges periodically during voyages and disconnecting them when destinations are reached.
  • Maintain government-issued certifications as required.


  • 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.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • 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.
  • 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.



  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

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