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Motorboat Operators
SOC Code: 53-5022.00

Operate small motor-driven boats. May assist in navigational activities.

Sample of reported job titles: Boat Operator, Charter Boat Operator, Crew Boat Operator, Launch Operator, Launchman, Pilot Boat Operator, Watch Leader, Water Taxi Operator


  • Maintain desired courses, using compasses or electronic navigational aids.
  • Follow safety procedures to ensure the protection of passengers, cargo, and vessels.
  • Direct safety operations in emergency situations.
  • Operate engine throttles and steering mechanisms to guide boats on desired courses.
  • Oversee operation of vessels used for carrying passengers, motor vehicles, or goods across rivers, harbors, lakes, and coastal waters.
  • Secure boats to docks with mooring lines, and cast off lines to enable departure.
  • Service motors by performing tasks such as changing oil and lubricating parts.
  • Arrange repairs, fuel, and supplies for vessels.
  • Maintain equipment such as range markers, fire extinguishers, boat fenders, lines, pumps, and fittings.
  • Organize and direct the activities of crew members.
  • Report any observed navigational hazards to authorities.
  • Issue directions for loading, unloading, and seating in boats.
  • Clean boats and repair hulls and superstructures, using hand tools, paint, and brushes.
  • Tow, push, or guide other boats, barges, logs, or rafts.
  • Take depth soundings in turning basins.
  • Perform general labor duties such as repairing booms.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - Echo sounder software; Radar software
  • Expert system software - Autopilot software
  • Internet browser software - Web browser software
  • Map creation software - Cartography software
  • Mobile location based services software - Global positioning system GPS software

Tools Used

  • Adjustable wrenches - Adjustable wrench sets
  • Anchor lines - Chafing gear
  • Binoculars
  • Blowers - Forced draft blowers
  • Boat Trailer - Boat towing trailers
  • Boathooks - Boat hooks
  • Carbon monoxide analyzer - Carbon monoxide detectors
  • Collection tanks - Sanitation treatment tanks
  • Complex controlling devices - Electronic navigational aids
  • Depth indicators - High water alarms
  • Desktop computers
  • Dewatering pumps - Automatic bilge pumps; Manual bilge pumps
  • Direction finding compasses - Navigational compasses
  • Electrical jumper cable - Jumper packs
  • Emergency dye signals - Die markers
  • Emergency medical services first aid kits - First aid kits
  • Exterior ship or boat lighting - Anchor lights; Masthead lights; Sidelights; Stern lights
  • Fire alarm systems - Fire detectors
  • Fire extinguishers - Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers; Dry chemical fire extinguishers; Foam fire extinguishers; Halon fire extinguishers
  • Fire suppression system - Fixed fire suppression systems
  • Flags or accessories - Signal flags
  • Flame arrestor - Backfire flame arrestors
  • Flares - Parachute flares; Pyrotechnic flares; Smoke flares
  • Gas engines - Kicker engines
  • Gasoline outboard motor - Gas powered outboard motors; Jet motors
  • Glow stick or light stick - Glow sticks
  • Grease guns - Grease dispensing guns
  • Hand sprayers - Handheld sprayers
  • Insulated or flotation suits - Exposure suits
  • Kerosene or propane or natural gas or butane lantern - Signal lanterns
  • Life rings - Flotation aids; Throwable flotation devices
  • Life vests or preservers - Inflatable personal flotation devices PFD; Near-shore life jackets; Offshore life jackets; Recreational life jackets
  • Lightning protection apparatus and accessories - Lightning protection systems
  • Marine craft communications systems - Satellite communications radios; Single sideband SSB radios; Very high frequency VHF radiotelephones
  • Marine rudders - Drogues
  • Marine signaling systems - Distress flags; Signal bells; Signal horns
  • Marine steering gear - Boat steering mechanisms
  • Masks or fins or snorkels - Diving masks; Snorkels
  • Metallic mirrors - Signal mirrors
  • Nylon rope - Mooring pendants; Nylon ropes
  • Oil can - Oil dispensing cans
  • Paddles - Oars
  • Radarbased surveillance systems - Mini automatic radar plotting aids MARPA; Radar systems
  • Radio access equipment - Citizen's band CB radios
  • Radio beacon - Emergency position indicating radio beacons EPIRB
  • Recreational motorboats
  • Reflective apparel or accessories - Space blankets
  • Rescue light - Visual distress signals
  • Rope float lines - Rescue throw bags
  • Safety chains
  • Safety horns - Air horns
  • Sail booms - Booms
  • Shackles - Captive-pin shackles
  • Smoke signal device - Floating smoke signals
  • Sonars - Sonar devices
  • Strobe or warning lights - Strobe lights
  • Sump pumps - Discharger pumps
  • Swivel carabiner - Carabiners
  • Throttle - Engine throttles
  • Tie down anchors - Burying anchors; Danforth anchors; Kedge anchors; Mushroom anchors
  • Tillers - Boat tillers
  • Towing hook - Boat towing hooks
  • Two way radios - Mobile radios
  • Utility knives - Emergency knives
  • Winches - Marine winches
  • Wire brushes - Wire cleaning brushes
  • Wire rope - Wire ropes


  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • 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.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Equipment Maintenance - Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Troubleshooting - Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Management of Personnel Resources - Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.


  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Spatial Orientation - The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
  • 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.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • 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.
  • Response Orientation - The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
  • 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.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Reaction Time - The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Time Sharing - The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Glare Sensitivity - The ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Static Strength - The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Hearing Sensitivity - The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • 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).
  • Peripheral Vision - The ability to see objects or movement of objects to one's side when the eyes are looking ahead.
  • Rate Control - The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.


  • Interest code: RCE
    • 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.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
    • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 95% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone - 89% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 87% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Contact With Others
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 63% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 61% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment - 69% responded “Every day.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather
  • Frequency of Decision Making
  • Physical Proximity - 61% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Work With Work Group or Team
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 39% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 65% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 34% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Outdoors, Under Cover
  • In an Open Vehicle or Equipment - 34% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 54% responded “Very important.”
  • Consequence of Error - 52% responded “Very serious.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 51% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting - 38% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 38% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 27% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Work Schedules
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People - 63% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations - 55% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Spend Time Sitting
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 31% responded “Very important.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
47%Post-secondary certificate
26%Some college, no degree

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Work Values

  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $21.44 hourly, $44,600 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 4,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Average (5% to 9%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 400

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