‘Dirty’, ‘cold’, and ‘dangerous’ may be the first three words that spring to mind when you think of marine transportation. However, this only touches on a small part of this industry. It is also a technologically advanced business that involves international travel.
Transporting goods by water might take more time to arrive, but it allows for very large quantities to be shipped. These careers require individuals with good problem-solving and lateral-thinking abilities. You might be working as a forklift driver, a ship’s captain, a stevedore (a.k.a. chief docker), a salesman, or an engineer.
For that reason, we are going to present you with more information about the world of marine transportation. Mainly you want to know what do you need to work in this career, how much they pay for it and other facts about it.
What Does Marine Transportation Involve?
Careers in waterborne logistics are responsible for moving vast quantities of goods from one place to another, via oceans and waterways. Waterborne freight careers tend to be carried out around large international ports. National economies rely on imports and exports and customers rely on prompt delivery. Consequently, careers in this subsector play an important role in the global economy.
Firstly, goods are moved to these international ports via various modes of transport, including barges and small boats. Once they reach these large ports, all of the goods are aggregated and moved across the world, before being unloaded and redistributed.
Marine transportation logistics operations usually work in tandem with other modes of transport, and rarely work completely independently. Indeed, every port has good road and rail links. Uniquely, this form of freight allows for the transportation of huge items that are prohibitively expensive or impossible to move using other modes of transport.
Whether you are working on a ship or on the dockside, there are dangers associated with careers in the marine transportation area. Apart from the obvious dangers of working on, or close to, water, you will usually be working with some of the largest manmade objects in the world.
You will also need to work to tight deadlines, often throughout the day and night, and continually deal with new issues and problems that need to be overcome.
Security is also another major issue, as ports are commonly the first point of entry to the country for imported goods. Consequently, there are a number of legal requirements that must be strictly adhered to when working in oceanic freight. Attention to detail and vigilance is required, as the legal requirements vary depending on the nature of the cargo.
Requirements and Median Wage of Marine Transportation Workers
Since there are a lot of positions that you can work in a ship, their requirements to apply for one can vary. Although, it is recommended that you take the U.S. Coast Guard-approved training programs. These can teach you all the essential information that you need to know in a marine transportation career.
After finishing the programs, you will have the chance to apply for the Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC), which is another requirement that workers need. This certification does not have written exams that you need to take, but rather physical and sensory tests to see if you are able to set foot on the ship.
Finally, all people working on the ship must have a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). This states that you passed a security screening and it must be renewed every 5 years.
Now, speaking of your salary, it also depends on the job that you are going to assume. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median wage of marine transportation workers from May 2020 was about $59,250.
What Does It Take to Work in Marine Transportation?
Whether you are chemically testing the inside of container ships, operating a crane, or you are the harbormaster, it is important to remember you will be working in a hostile environment with lots of dangers.
The nature of transport and logistics means that there is work to be done 24 hours a day. Therefore, you may have to work unsociable hours, and often you will be exposed to the elements. These careers require people with a hardy nature and you may have to spend long periods away from home.
On the plus side, there can be lots of opportunities to travel and the chance to work with people from all over the world. If working port and starboard, day and night, all over the world appeal to your hardy, thick-skinned, sea-loving soul, Marine transportation might just be perfect for you.
An Alternative for this Dangerous Job
From all of this information, you might already think that assuming the risk for the job is not worth it. However, marine transportation not only involves transporting goods, but people too. Commercially, it is a great way for families to enjoy a safe and new experience abord a watercraft.
This job is not as dangerous as the previous examples, as your main purpose is to ensure that the passengers feel comfortable and reach their destination safely. Of course, the types of roles that workers assume are the same as the transportation of goods, like engineers or deckhands. But there are minor roles like chefs or electricians that can also work in ferries for example.
Either way, everyone in the ship has to maintain it and serve the passengers until they reach the destination and get off. Once this happens, there will be workers that help with exiting the people out of the ship safely with their belongings. In comparison with transportation of goods, these travels do not take long, normally it is about a week or less, but it also depends on the itinerary.