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Dredge Operators
SOC Code: 53-7031.00

Operate dredge to remove sand, gravel, or other materials in order to excavate and maintain navigable channels in waterways.

Sample of reported job titles: Dredge Operator, Dredger


  • Move levers to position dredges for excavation, to engage hydraulic pumps, to raise and lower suction booms, and to control rotation of cutterheads.
  • Start and stop engines to operate equipment.
  • Start power winches that draw in or let out cables to change positions of dredges, or pull in and let out cables manually.
  • Pump water to clear machinery pipelines.
  • Lower anchor poles to verify depths of excavations, using winches, or scan depth gauges to determine depths of excavations.
  • Direct or assist workers placing shore anchors and cables, laying additional pipes from dredges to shore, and pumping water from pontoons.

Technology Skills

  • Data base user interface and query software - Data entry software ; Teledyne Odom Hydrographic ODOM eChart
  • Industrial control software - HYPACK DREDGEPACK; Programmable logic controller PLC software
  • Internet browser software - Web browser software
  • Map creation software - Trimble HYDROpro
  • Mobile location based services software - Global positioning system GPS software

Tools Used

  • Anchor rollers - Anchor winches
  • Blow torch - Cutting torches
  • Cargo trucks - Tractor-trailer trucks
  • Chain saw - Chainsaws
  • Conventional truck cranes - Davit cranes
  • Density measurement instrument - Density meters
  • Draglines - Dragline cranes
  • Dredgers - Hydraulic suction dredges; Mechanical dredges; Self-propelled dredges
  • Dump trucks - Heavy duty dump trucks
  • Earthmoving buckets or its parts or accessories - Clamshell buckets
  • Fire extinguishers - Multipurpose fire extinguishers
  • Fire hoses or nozzles - Firefighting hoses
  • Front end loaders
  • Gas welding or brazing or cutting apparatus - Oxyacetylene welding equipment
  • Grease guns - Grease dispensing guns
  • Life rings - Rescue rings
  • Life vests or preservers - Life jackets
  • Light trucks or sport utility vehicles - Pickup trucks
  • Particle size measuring apparatus - Soil particle size testers
  • Pneumatic impact wrenches
  • Ratchets - Ratchet sets
  • Rescue ships or boats - Rescue boats
  • Socket sets - Socket wrench sets
  • Sonars - Fathometer sonar equipment
  • Speed sensors - Velocity meters
  • Track bulldozers - Crawler dozers
  • Two way radios - Mobile radios
  • Vacuum gauges
  • Water samplers - Water quality samplers
  • Weeders - Weed harvesters
  • Winches - Power winches


  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.


  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Depth Perception - The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Reaction Time - The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Hearing Sensitivity - The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Auditory Attention - The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.


  • Interest code: R
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 95% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 97% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 85% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 80% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather - 81% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 69% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 43% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 21% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures - 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment - 64% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 34% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 39% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 61% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 47% responded “Moderate results.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings - 46% responded “Every day.”
  • Outdoors, Under Cover - 34% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 27% responded “About half the time.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 29% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Consequence of Error - 30% responded “Very serious.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 31% responded “Limited responsibility.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 22% responded “Limited responsibility.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 19% responded “Very important.”
  • Telephone - 39% responded “Never.”
  • Degree of Automation - 19% responded “Completely automated.”
  • Time Pressure - 47% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
80%High school diploma or equivalent
9%Post-secondary certificate
7%Less than high school diploma

Work Styles

  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.

Work Values

  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Working Conditions - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $20.78 hourly, $43,230 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 2,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Average (5% to 9%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 200

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