Deckhand

Work hard, physical jobs on board a river or ocean boat.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$17,000 – $40,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Deckhands do?

A Deckhand is an entry-level crewmember who works and lives on a boat. Entry-level, yes, but along with playboy, millionaire, and Yachtsman, it’s one of the few jobs that let you spend your days sailing around the world. It doesn’t matter if you lack your own yacht, schooner, brig, or battleship. When you’ve got an itch to go to sea, one way to scratch it is to get a job as a Deckhand.

Everywhere there’s water — rivers, lakes, and oceans — there’s demand for Deckhands, who do any number of tasks on any number of vessels. If you work on a fishing boat, for instance, you operate fishing gear and help haul fish into the boat, where you also clean and ice them for transport. If you work on a cargo ship, you load and unload cargo. If you work on a passenger ferry, meanwhile, you collect fares and help passengers embark and disembark.

No matter what type of vessel you work on, you likely do a few standard duties. For instance, you clean, paint, and maintain the vessel, inside and out; help steer the ship; perform lookout duty out on the water; and help anchor and dock the boat when it enters port.

If you’re susceptible to seasickness, you’d better stay on land. However, if your inner Sailor likes the idea of 24/7 salt and sea air: All aboard!


Should I be a Deckhand?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.

  • Also known as: Boat Deckhand, Deck Hand, Deckhand, Clam Dredge, Deckhand, Crab Boat, Deckhand, Oyster Dredge, Deckhand, Shrimp Boat See More

    How to become a Deckhand

    Most Deckhands have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Bachelor's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9nahaa&chl=no+college+%2874%25%29|certificate+%2816%25%29||bachelor%27s+%289%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,74,74
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