Sailors 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, and perform a variety of maintenance tasks.
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- Stand watch in ship's bow or bridge to look for obstructions or to locate navigational aids such as buoys and lighthouses.
- Alert deck officers when other vessels, navigation marks or hazards are sighted.
- Load or unload cargo to and from vessel and secure it.
- Steer ship under the direction of commander or navigating officer, following designated course, or direct helmsmen to steer.
- Stand by wheel when ship is on automatic pilot, and verify accuracy of course using magnetic compass.
- Handle ropes, wire mooring lines, gangways and ladders when the ship is berthing and unberthing.
- Stand gangway watches to prevent unauthorized persons from boarding ship when in port.
- Operate, maintain and repair ship and deck equipment and appliances (e.g. winches, cranes, derricks, cargo gear, rigging, and lifesaving and firefighting devices).
- Remove rust, treat and paint ship's sides and structures, and assist in maintaining and repairing ship's engines and mechanical equipment.
- Overhaul lifeboats and lifeboat gear, lower or raise lifeboats with winches or falls, and man lifeboats in emergencies.
- Maintain cleanliness of decks and structures, and clean ship's fresh water, ballast and oil tanks and cargo compartment.
- Set and strike ship's flag.
Related professions shipping
- Cargo agent
- Clearing or forwarding agent
- Inland waterways ship captain
- Sea ship captain
- Ship deck hand
- Ship deck hand (tug)
- Ship deck officer
- Ship mechanic
- Ship pilot
- Steam engine operator
- Steward(ess) on a ship
- Anchors used in maritime water transport
Distinguish various types of anchors used in maritime transport operations according to the type of vessel, port characteristics and regulatory guidelines.
- Global Maritime Distress and Safety System
The internationally agreed-upon set of safety procedures, types of equipment and communication protocols used to increase safety and make it easier to rescue distressed ships, boats and aircraft.
- Use different types of fire extinguishers
Understand and apply various methods of firefighting and various types and classes of fire extinguishing equipment.
- Clean parts of vessels
Clean engine rooms and vessel components using appropriate cleaning materials; ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
- Use maritime English
Communicate in English employing language used in actual situations on board ships, in ports and elsewhere in the shipping chain.
- Unmoor vessels
Follow standard procedures to unmoor vessels. Manage communication between the ship and the shore.
- Prepare lifeboats
Prepare lifeboats in ships before departure, ensure full functionality in case of emergency, follow regulatory instructions for lifesaving boats.
- Pilot vessel into ports
Safely navigate vessel in and out of port; communicate and cooperate with captain and ship's crew; operate vessel communication and navigation instruments; communicate with other vessels and harbour control centre.
- Secure ships using rope
Use rope to secure and untie the ship before departure or upon arrival.
- Moor vessels
Follow standard procedures to moor vessels. Manage communication between the ship and the shore.
- Watch for maritime navigation aids
Watch for navigation aids (lighthouses and buoys), obstructions, and other vessels that may be encountered. Interpret navigation aids, communicate information, and take orders from the captain.
- Follow written instructions
Follow written directions in order to perform a task or carry out a step-by-step procedure.
- Operate echo sounding equipment
Operate technological equipment to measure the ocean's depth. Calculate and interpret results, and communicate them to management.
- Follow work procedures
Adhere to procedures at work in a structured and systematic manner.
- Paint ship decks
Detect and remove rust using primers and sealants; paint vessel decks to fend off oxidation process.
- Operate traditional water depth measurement equipment
Operate traditional water depth measuring equipment e.g. weights on a line, and traditional techniques for measuring the depth of water, particularly along coastlines and near harbours.
- Ensure public safety and security
Implement the relevant procedures, strategies and use the proper equipment to promote local or national security activities for the protection of data, people, institutions, and property.
- Prepare deck equipment
Handle a wide assortment of deck equipment, including waterproof marine doors, hatches, winches, pumps, cleats, fairleads, portlights, shackles, swivels, tank top covers, anchors, and bollards. Prepare and organise equipment in the required locations and quantity on board a vessel.
- Communicate reports provided by passengers
Transmit information provided by passengers to superiors. Interpret passenger claims and follow up requests.
- Assist anchoring operations
Assist during anchoring operations; operate equipment and assist in anchor manoeuvres.
- Anchor ships to the port
Anchor ships to the port according to the type of vessel.
- Wash decks of ships
Clean the ship's deck by sweeping and washing it thoroughly. Remove superfluous salt and water to avoid oxidation.
- Follow verbal instructions
Have the ability to follow spoken instructions received from colleagues. Strive to understand and clarify what is being requested.
- Guide ships into docks
Safely guide a ship into a dock and anchor it.
Optional knowledge and skillsassist in maritime rescue operations conduct on board safety inspections types of maritime vessels deal with challenging work conditions lift heavy weights act reliably have computer literacy perform lookout duties during maritime operations
Common job titles
- Administrative assistant
- Training and performance improvement
- Customer service representative
- Office & administration support
- Aerographer's mate
- Emergency, fire & rescue
- Arts & photography
- Submarine electronics