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Merchant Marines

When you think of the dozens of different ships in the maritime industry, and consider the special jobs that go along with each of these vessels, you have hundreds of options for jobs on workboats.

Of course, cruise ships alone provide a number of employment opportunities for entertainers, bartenders, chefs, and so forth, and you can find full information about cruise ship jobs in that section of our website.

Below you'll find descriptions of the workboats jobs available almost everywhere in the world, as classified by the Military Sealift Command. These titles are used by the merchant marines. More detailed position information follows after this page. See:

But to get your started here are brief overviews of common positions.

Ordinary Seaman

If you're just staring out on the maritime industry, this is the bottom rung on the ladder. In families long in boating tradition, children usually start in this job and work their way up to becoming the owner of the ship. Job duties include guarding the ship while in port, doing routine maintenance both at port and while at sea, and generally taking commands from everyone else in the ship! As an ordinary seaman, you'll find yourself doing tasks like painting and mopping while you learn the ins and outs of running the ship.

Able Bodied Seaman

This job doesn't imply that you are in the best physical condition to handle the job (although you do have to be in shape!). The term "able bodied" simply means that you're a step above "ordinary." In this job, you'll have additional duties, like taking care of the items in the cargo hold and helping with deck operations. You'll also be doing many of the same tasks as the ordinary seamen on board.

Junior Engineer

Usually unlicensed, the junior engineer is to the control of the ship what the ordinary seaman is to the maintenance of the ship. Another low man on the totem pole, this job requires a person to assist the licensed engineers in controlling the operating room.

Engine Utilityman

Also under the command of the licensed engineers, the engine utilitymen are in charge of repair and maintenance of the ship's machinery, handling equipment, and control panels.

Licensed Engineers

There are a variety of types of engineers that can help to run a ship, but in general, they take care of the control room or operating room, fabricate needed pieces when machinery breaks, control the electronics, maintain the ship's refrigeration systems, and take orders from the ships' owner or captain.

Chief Steward and Utilitymen

This team is responsible for helping the crew live on the ship. On a smaller ship, these duties may all be carried out be a single person, and on a larger ship, a number of people might be involved in these tasks, which include cooking a handling the meals, maintaining the passageways and cleaning living quarters, and taking inventory of the ship's supplies.