Sailor

Perform the hands-on work that keeps a ship sailing smoothly.
picture of Sailor

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$22,000 – $57,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Sailors do?

A Sailor’s job is like the ocean—ever changing, always different, huge, and exciting. Sailors do any and every task on board a boat not covered by Officers or Engineers. Boats are vital to the worldwide economy, responsible for transporting tons of cargo and harvesting fish to feed hungry consumers. But they’re huge operations and need strong, able-bodied Sailors to run them.

As a Sailor, you’re one of the entry-level, frontline workers on board a ship. You operate the boat and on-board machinery, and keep non-engineering areas clean, to name just a few of your duties. Larger ships are like small cities moving through the water. There’s always something to be done somewhere.

Ships use duty rosters and rank systems to keep the crew organized and on task. In addition to routine duties, you must be prepared for any emergency. That’s why most Sailors are trained in lifesaving, firefighting, and lifeboat operations.

Being a team player and a constant learner is crucial. There’s no room on a boat for someone who isn’t always giving the job their all. You need to be able to take orders from your superiors, and work cooperatively with your teammates. Many tasks, such as securing heavy riggings and cargo, can’t be done alone.

Depending on the type of boat you find yourself on, you could be back on dry land every night, or spend weeks at sea. Either way, you need to be able to get along with all types of people, or you’re in for rough seas.


Should I be a Sailor?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • How to become a Sailor

    Most Sailors have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9baaaa&chl=no+college+%2869%25%29|certificate+%2831%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,69,69
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