Profession helmsman

Helmsmen are members of the crew on the highest rank of the operational level on an inland vessel. They perform a variety of duties concerned with the operation and upkeep of deck department areas, the engine and other equipment, mooring and unmooring, as well as the steering of the ship as the main task.

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Personality Type

  • Enterprising / Conventional
  • Realistic / Investigative

Knowledge

  • Functions of vessel deck equipment

    Know and control deck and safety equipment and vessel lifting facilities.

  • National waterways

    Know the national waterways used for inland navigation, know geographical location of rivers, canals, seaports and inland harbours, and understand the relationship with cargo flows.

  • Inland waterway ship building

    Understand inland waterway ship building and construction. Operate vessel in compliance with construction legislation.

  • Vessel stability principles

    Thoroughly understand the principles of vessel stability; follow safety requirements during loading and unloading of cargo.

  • Anchors used in inland water transport

    Name and recognise different types of anchors used in inland water transport (IWT); explain the characteristics of different anchors and their specific uses.

  • Multimodal transport logistics

    Understand logistics and multimodal transport as the planning and control of the movement of goods or people, and all related logistical supporting activities.

  • Passenger transport regulations

    Have knowledge of passenger transport conventions and regulations.

  • European classification of inland waterways

    Understand the European CEMT classification of inland waterways; use modern information systems to compare the dimensions of the waterway to those of the vessel.

  • Physical parts of the vessel

    Detailed knowledge of the different physical components of the vessel. Provide maintenance and care to ensure optimal operations.

  • Distinguish ship construction methods

    Distinguish various methods of constructing vessels and how this affects their behaviour in the water in terms of strength and stability.

  • International waterways

    The international waterways used for maritime navigation, the geographical location of currents, maritime waterways, and harbours.

  • International regulations for cargo handling

    International conventions governing the loading and unloading of cargo in ports.

  • National regulations on handling cargo

    The national regulations governing the loading and unloading of cargo in ports within that country.

  • Principles of cargo stowage

    Understand the principles of cargo stowage. Understand procedures by which containers should be efficiently loaded and unloaded, taking into account gravitational forces that are exerted during transportation.

Skills

  • Distinguish various types of ships

    Recognise and name various types of vessels common in European maritime transport; understand the different characteristics, construction details, and tonnage capacities of different vessels.

  • Adhere to traffic regulations on inland waterways

    Understand and apply traffic rules in inland waterway navigation in order to ensure safety and avoid collisions.

  • Use equipment for safe stowage

    Use tools and equipment to perform safe stowage and ensure proper loading and securing of goods.

  • Supervise loading of cargo

    Supervise the process of loading equipment, cargo, goods and other Items. Ensure that all cargo is handled and stored properly in accordance with regulations and standards.

  • Assess trim of vessels

    Assess the trim stability of vessels, referring to the stability of a vessel while it is in a static condition.

  • Maintain ship stability in relation to weight of passengers

    Maintain vessel stability in relation to weight of passengers; communicate with passengers.

  • Stow cargo

    Stow cargo in a secure manner; operate handling gear and lashing equipment.

  • Apply regulations on cargo transport operations

    Display knowledge of relevant local, national, European and international regulations, standards, and codes concerning the operation of freight transport.

  • Use radar navigation

    Operate modern radar navigation equipment to ensure safe vessel operations.

  • Navigate European inland waterways

    Navigate European waterways in accordance with navigation agreements.

  • Unmoor vessels

    Follow standard procedures to unmoor vessels. Manage communication between the ship and the shore.

  • Ensure safe loading of goods according to stowage plan

    Monitor and ensure the safe and secure loading of materials and goods, as specified in the stowage plan.

  • Help to control passenger behaviour during emergency situations

    Know how to use life-saving equipment in emergency situations. Provide assistance if leakages, collisions or fires should occur, and support the evacuation of passengers. Know crisis and crowd management, and administer first aid on board.

  • Manage vessel control systems

    Know, operate, test and maintain control systems of vessels. Maintain and if necessary repair electronic components of vessel control systems.

  • Restrict passenger access to specific areas on board

    Delimit access points for passengers on board and implement an effective protection system; prevent unauthorised access to restricted areas at all times.

  • Control proceedings on board in the event of an emergency

    Control proceedings in the event of a leakage, fire, man overboard, collisions, and evacuations; implement crisis management and stay calm in emergency situations.

  • Communicate reports provided by passengers

    Transmit information provided by passengers to superiors. Interpret passenger claims and follow up requests.

  • Adjust weight of cargo to capacity of freight transport vehicles

    Adapt weight of cargo to capacity of freight transport vehicles. Oversee the maximum load capacity of the vehicle in question and the weight of each individual crate in the shipment.

  • Use meteorological information

    Use and interpret meteorological information for operations dependent on climatic conditions. Use this information to provide advise on safe operations in relation to weather conditions.

  • Evaluate engine performance

    Read and comprehend engineering manuals and publications; test engines in order to evaluate engine performance.

  • Clean parts of vessels

    Clean engine rooms and vessel components using appropriate cleaning materials; ensure compliance with environmental regulations.

  • Supervise unloading of cargo

    Supervise unloading processes for equipment, cargo, goods and other items. Ensure that everything is handled and stored correctly in accordance with regulations and standards.

  • Swim

    Move through water by means of the limbs.

  • Moor vessels

    Follow standard procedures to moor vessels. Manage communication between the ship and the shore.

  • Assist passenger embarkation

    Assist passengers when they embark vessels, aircraft, trains and other modes of transport. Keep safety measures and procedures in mind.

  • Ensure integrity of hull

    Ensure sure that water does not break through the hull; prevent progressive flooding.

  • Supervise movement of crew

    Oversee embarkation and disembarkation of crew members; ensure that safety regulations are followed according to specifications.

  • Assist anchoring operations

    Assist during anchoring operations; operate equipment and assist in anchor manoeuvres.

  • Follow procedures in the event of an alarm

    Follow safety procedures in the event of an alarm; act according to company instructions and procedures.

  • Execute safety assurance exercises

    Organise and execute safety exercises; ensure safety in potentially dangerous situations.

  • Understand different types of locks and their operation

    Master various engineering constructions and functions of bridges and locks in the field of navigation. Conduct locking and entering procedures.

  • Use modern electronic navigational aids

    Use modern navigational aids such as GPS and radar systems.

  • Operate life-saving appliances

    Operate survival craft and their launching appliances and arrangements. Operate life-saving instruments like radio life-saving appliances, satellite EPIRBs, SARTs, immersion suits and thermal protective aids.

  • Facilitate safe disembarkation of passengers

    Assist passengers when they leave the vessel, aircraft, train, or other mode of transport. Keep the safety measures and procedures in mind.

  • Supervise movement of passengers

    Oversee embarking and disembarking of travellers; ensure that safety regulations are followed according to specifications.

  • Anchor ships to the port

    Anchor ships to the port according to the type of vessel.

  • Assess stability of vessels

    Assess the two kinds of stability of vessels, namely transversal and longitudinal.

Optional knowledge and skills

work in a water transport team recognise abnormalities on board show intercultural awareness vessel fuels perform vessel maintenance and cleaning apply conflict management electrical systems used in transportation implement workplace drug policies show confidence act reliably perform risk analysis provide feedback on job performance comply with checklists environmental aspects of inland waterway transportation have computer literacy implement environmental protection measures use maritime english encourage teambuilding use different communication channels provide first aid detect malfunctions in engines

Common job titles

  • Quartermaster (windstar cruises)
  • Logistics internship
  • Lcs deck ops sme-curriculum
  • Logistics specialist
  • Deckhand
  • Temporary marine relief positions
  • Claims team manager, auto central services, commercial insurance
  • First officer-maritime
  • Sales support associate
  • Wsmc response worker