Move cargo on and off ships.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$17,000 – $38,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Longshoremen do?

In some areas, waterways are used as much as—or even more than—roadways for transporting people and goods. Getting products from one location to another via water (or road for that matter) requires the loading and unloading of the shipments. That’s where the Longshoreman comes in.

A Longshoreman is a Dockworker who loads and unloads ships, tankers, and other water vessels that come into a shipping dock, port, or pier. This is done both manually and with the aid of machinery such as cranes, winches, and hoists.

As a Longshoreman, you’re responsible for the containers, crates, and boxes that you load and unload. You mark and identify them, log the number of containers, check for damaged or opened shipments, and repackage if necessary. In addition, you process handling and shipping documents for tracking purposes. Inspecting, repairing, and operating the machinery used to lift and move the cargo are also on your duty roster.

This job requires a significant amount of manual labor, so being physically fit is extremely important. Good coordination, dexterity, reflexes, agility, and balance are also vital because the combination of large bodies of water, huge ships, and heavy equipment creates a high-risk environment (and then add the weather). Problem-solving skills as well as the ability to give and follow directions are other beneficial qualities to have for this job.

Should I be a Longshoreman?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • Also known as: Buggyman, Cokeman, Guideman, Trestleman, Yard Man

    How to become a Longshoreman

    Most Longshoremen have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9adaac&chl=no+college+%2890%25%29|certificate+%281%25%29|associate%27s+%285%25%29|||doctorate+%284%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,90,90
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