How Much Money Does a Merchant Marine Make?

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Water transportation workers are known as merchant mariners. These workers operate and maintain water craft such as merchant ships, tugboats, ferries and cruise ships. They travel and transport on oceans, Great Lakes, rivers, canals, harbors and other waterways, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). A merchant mariner's salary depends on factors such as his job title, location and the industry in which he works.

Captains, Mates and Pilots

  • Captains, mates and pilots lead and supervise water vessel operations, with the captain as lead in command. As of 2009, a captain, mate or pilot's average hourly wage was $34.01, and her average annual salary was $70,740, according to the BLS. Captains, mates and pilots on the lower end of the salary scale, or 10th percentile, earned $30,760 per year, and those in the higher end of the salary scale, or 90th percentile, earned $114,720 per year. The industry that held the highest level of employment for this occupation was support activities for water transportation, where salaries averaged $76,040 per year. The highest-paying industry was oil and gas extraction, with average annual salaries of $89,060. Louisiana employed the most captains, mates and pilots per capita when compared to other states. In Louisiana, salaries averaged $73,690. Earnings were significantly higher in Delaware, the highest-paying state, where salaries averaged $102,290 per year, according to the BLS.

Ship Engineers

  • Ship engineers operate, maintain and repair ship machinery. As of 2009, a ship engineer's average hourly wage was $33.38, and his average annual salary was $69,420, according to the BLS. Ship engineers on the lower end of the salary scale earned $35,030 per year, and those on the higher end of the salary scale earned $109,310 per year. Deep sea, coastal, and Great Lakes water transportation was the industry that held the highest level of employment. It was also the highest-paying industry, as salaries averaged $76,990 per year. The state of Louisiana employed the most ship engineers per capita, with salaries averaging $64,260 per year. At $118,790 per year, average salaries in Maryland, the highest-paying state, nearly doubled average salaries in Louisiana, according to the BLS.

Sailors and Marine Oilers

  • Under supervision of ship officers, sailors operate the vessel, operate deck equipment and keep non-engineering areas in good condition. They also stand watch and steer the ship and have other duties. Marine oilers assist engineers and perform duties such as lubricating gears and reading temperature and pressure gauges. As of 2009, these merchant mariners averaged $17.94 per hour, and their average annual salary was $37,310, according to the BLS. Sailors and marine oilers on the lower end of the salary scale earned $21,640 per year, and those on the higher end of the salary scale earned $55,360 per year. The industry that held the highest level of employment for sailors and marine oilers was inland water transportation, where salaries averaged $36,100 per year. The highest-paying industry was management of companies and enterprises, where average annual salaries were significantly higher at $51,330. Louisiana was again the state with the highest employment per capita, where salaries averaged $37,950 per year. The highest-paying state was Washington, with average salaries of $45,560 per year, the BLS reports.

Motorboat Operators Salary Profile

  • Motorboat operators usually carry six or fewer passengers. A motorboat operator may perform area patrol; she also may transport between ships or between ship and shore. As of 2009, a motorboat operator's average hourly wage was $18.46, and her average annual salary was $38,390, according to the BLS. Motorboat operators on the lower end of the salary scale earned $20,700 per year, and those on the higher end of the salary scale earned $59,920 per year. Support activities for water transportation held the highest level of employment for this occupation, and had salaries averaging $41,210 per year. The federal executive branch was the highest paying industry, with average annual salaries of $52,980. South Carolina held the highest level of employment per capita for motorboat operators, with average salaries at $42,330 per year. The highest-paying state for a motorboat operator was Georgia, with average annual salaries of $59,260, the BLS reports.

References

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