Careers & Jobs
Watercraft operator standing on deck

Watercraft Operator (88K)

  • Enlisted
  • Officer
  • Active Duty
  • Army Reserve
  • Open to Women
  • Entry Level

Overview

Watercraft operators are primarily responsible for navigation, cargo operations and supervising other Soldiers on Army watercraft. They are part of a piloting team using electronic positioning systems, handheld navigation tools and traditional watch standing procedures aboard many of the Army’s watercraft.

Job Duties

  • Dock and undock vessels
  • Send and receive messages with radios, beacons and signal flags
  • Operate and maintain lifeboats and vessel firefighting equipment
  • Secure all type of cargo using shipboard machinery such as capstans, winches, hoists and davits

Requirements

Those who want to serve must first take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identify which Army jobs are best for you.

Training

Job training for a watercraft operator requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and six weeks of Advanced Individual Training with on-the-job instructions. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and part in the field.

Some of the skills you’ll learn are:

  • Boat handling techniques
  • Standing-watch procedures
  • Use of communications, electronics and navigational systems
  • Ship structure
  • Log and message-handling procedures
  • Navigational mathematics

Helpful Skills

  • Interest in the ocean, sailing and navigation
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Basic understanding of maps and trip planning
  • Understanding of mathematical formulas

Required ASVAB Score(s)

Mechanical Maintenance (MM) : 99

Learn more about the ASVAB and see what jobs you could qualify for.

Compensation

Total compensation includes housing, medical, food, special pay, and vacation time. Learn more about total compensation.

Education Benefits

In the Army, qualified students can earn full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus an annual stipend for living expenses. Learn more about education benefits.

Future Civilian Careers

The skills you learn will help prepare you for a career in shipping, cruise ship, tugboat or ferry operation. You’ll be able to consider a future as a pilot, harbormaster or marine resource enforcement officer.

PARTNERSHIP FOR YOUTH SUCCESS (PaYS) Program

Those interested in this job may be eligible for civilian employment, after the Army, by enrolling in the Army PaYS program. The PaYS program is a recruitment option that guarantees a job interview with military friendly employers that are looking for experience and trained Veterans to join their organization. Find out more about the Army PaYS Program at http://www.armypays.com.

  • Rush Enterprises
  • Ruan Transportation Mgt. Sys. Inc.
  • D. M. Bowman, Inc.
  • Liquid Transport Corp
  • Transport Corporation of America, Inc.
  • Sentinel Transportation, LLC
  • Nationwide Truck Brokers, Inc.
  • J. B. Hunt Transportation, Inc.
  • Total Quality Logistics, LLC
  • TMC Transportation, Inc.

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