Transport & Logistics

Deckhand

Deckhands undertake a wide range of fishery and maritime work on land and at sea, including communications, supply, seamanship, and stores.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Deckhand do?

Deckhands undertake a wide range of fishery and maritime work on land and at sea, including communications, supply, seamanship, hospitality and stores. On fishing vessels, they may also use equipment such as nets, lines and traps to catch fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

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Work activities

As a deckhand, you would:

  • handle lines to moor vessels to wharfs, to tie up vessels to other vessels, or to rig towing lines
  • load, unload and stow supplies and equipment
  • operate dinghies and dories
  • operate winches and other deck equipment
  • lower and man lifeboats when emergencies occur
  • relay information to crew, other ships and harbour authorities using radio and satellite equipment
  • clean and maintain decks, deck equipment and machinery
  • attach runners, weights, buoys, anchors, poles, stakes, wood or metal beams to nets, traps or pots on fishing vessels
  • sort, clean, process, preserve and package catches on fishing vessels.
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Key skills and interests

To become a deckhand, you would need:

  • be physically fit (a medical examination may be required)
  • have normal colour vision
  • be aware of maritime safety issues
  • have good hand-eye coordination
  • have a good sense of balance
  • be able to work as part of a team.
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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

Deckhands usually work for long periods on ships. You may work a number of weeks on, followed by a shorter number of weeks off (shore leave).

Conditions

Deckhands often work in cramped conditions, which can be uncomfortable.

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How to become an Deckhand?

Entry Level Education

You can work as a deckhand without formal qualifications. You would get some training on the job. Your employment prospects may be improved if you have a VET qualification in areas such as fishing operations or maritime operations.

You can also become a Deckhand through a traineeship in aquaculture, fishing operations or maritime operations.

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of deckhands is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Job growth is likely to be concentrated in areas such as commodities transportation - such as iron ore, grain, and petroleum – supply to offshore oil platforms, and in tourism related areas such as cruise and expedition ships.

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