What Do Motorboat Operators Do?
Motorboat operators not only operate small motor-driven boats, but also manage the crew and oversee the safety of any cargo or passengers that might be onboard. They are used in a variety of capacities, including offering scenic and sightseeing tours, inland water transportation, and deep sea and coastal transportation. Across the United States, this job is predicted to grow in the next 5 years, with an estimated 180 new jobs per year. With this positive outlook, you should feel encouraged to try your hand at operating motorboats for a living.
Motorboat Operators Skills and Abilities
To be a motorboat operator, you must have sound knowledge of the equipment, policies, and protocols in place to protect the people or cargo on your vessel. This, of course, also includes being able to operate and monitor the boats in your charge. You should also be aware of all the local, state, and federal rules regarding your vessel and its operation. Sensitivity to potential problems combined with sound judgment will help you to avoid, or at least efficiently handle, any issues that could arise. Effective communication skills, including both speaking and active listening, are also important to your voyages running smoothly.
Motorboat Operators Duties
As a boat operator, it will be your responsibility to stay true to your plotted course while transporting passengers or cargo. To protect the persons or items onboard, you will follow any prescribed safety guidelines, as well as be the one to direct the passengers during any emergency. Other duties include:
- Performing basic maintenance on your vessel
- Directing and supervising the crew members onboard
- Using mooring lines to secure your vessel to docks or wharves
- Cleaning your boat, as needed
Motorboat Operators Tools and Technology
You will need a working knowledge of fire extinguishers, exterior ship lighting, life preservers, and flares. All of these tools are necessary to ensure safe trips for you, your crew, and your passengers. As the operator of a boat, you must also know how to work anchors. Understanding how to control autopilot software and GPS software is important for proper operation of a watercraft. There are also analytical programs, such as Echo Rounder and Radar software, which you may need to learn.
Education and Training for Motorboat Operators
Operating a motorboat does not require much formal education. In fact, 72.1 percent of all motorboat operators do not have any sort of college degree, making it a very accessible job. You won’t generally need any work experience to be considered for the job, and you should expect only short-term training after being hired.
Motorboat Operators Salary
The median annual salary for motorboat operators is $37,100. Eighty percent of all workers in this field make between $19,200 and $69,300. The median yearly salary does change, however, depending on what industry one operates a boat for. For example, transporting people for sightseeing purposes can yield a mean annual wage of $33,720. Motorboat operators who work for the federal government earn the most, with a mean annual wage of $56,030. Of course, landing a job with the federal government will, in most cases, require more skill and experience. It would make sense to start in a more entry-level boating job and then move your way up from there, if desired.
Motorboat Operators Jobs by Geography
Florida, Alaska, and Massachusetts have the highest percentage of boat operators per population. Working in Alaska will bring you almost double the pay than working the same job in Florida or Massachusetts, but you’ll also be in a more remote location. When considering where you’d like to work, make sure to weigh the pros and cons to help you better understand how this job will fit into your lifestyle.