Water transport workers typically do the following:
These workers work on a variety of ships. Some operate large deep-sea container ships to transport manufactured goods around the world. Motorboat operators work on bulk carriers that move heavy commodities, such as coal or steel across the oceans and over the Great Lakes. Others work on both large and small tankers that carry oil and other liquid products around the world. Some may work on supply ships that transport equipment and supplies to offshore oil and gas platforms.
Workers on tugboats help barges and other boats maneuver in small harbours and at sea.
Salvage vessels that offer emergency services also employ merchant mariners.
Cruise ships employ a large number of water transportation workers, and some merchant mariners work on ferries to transport passengers along shorter distances.
A typical deep sea merchant ship, large coastal ship, or Great Lakes merchant ship employs a captain and chief engineer, along with three mates, three assistant engineers, and a number of sailors and marine oilers. Smaller vessels that operate in harbors or rivers may have a smaller crew, with a captain, sometimes a mate, and one to a few sailors.