Friday, August 21, 2009

Water Transportation Occupations

Job Outlook

Employment in water transportation occupations is projected to grow faster than average. Good job opportunities are expected.

Employment change. Employment in water transportation occupations is projected to grow 16 percent over the 2006-2016 period, faster than the average for all occupations. Job growth will stem from increasing tourism and growth in offshore oil and gas production. Employment will also increase in and around major port cities due to rapidly increasing international trade.

Employment in deep-sea shipping for American mariners is expected to remain stable. A fleet of deep-sea U.S.-flagged ships is considered vital to the Nation’s defense, so some receive Federal support through a maritime security subsidy and other provisions in laws that limit certain Federal cargoes to ships that fly the U.S. flag.

Employment growth also is expected in passenger cruise ships within U.S. waters. Vessels that operate between U.S. ports are required by law to be U.S.-flagged vessels. The staffing needs for several new U.S. flagged cruise ships that will travel to the Hawaiian Islands will create new opportunities for employment. In addition, increasing use of ferries to handle commuter traffic around major metropolitan areas should increase employment.

Some growth in water transportation occupations is projected in vessels operating in the Great Lakes and inland waterways. Growth will be driven by increasing demand for bulk products, such as coal, iron ore, petroleum, sand and gravel, grain, and chemicals. Since current pipelines cannot transport ethanol, some growth will come from shipping ethanol. Problems with congestion in the rail transportation system will increase demand for inland water transportation.

Job prospects. Good job opportunities will result from growth and the need to replace those leaving the occupation. Most water transportation occupations require workers to be away from home for extended periods of time, causing some to leave these jobs.

Maritime academy graduates who have not found licensed shipboard jobs in the U.S. merchant marine find jobs in related industries. Many academy graduates are ensigns in the Naval or Coast Guard Reserve; some are selected or apply for active duty in those branches of the Service. Some find jobs as seamen on U.S.-flagged or foreign-flagged vessels, tugboats, and other watercraft or enter civilian jobs with the U.S. Navy or Coast Guard. Some take land-based jobs with shipping companies, marine insurance companies, manufacturers of boilers or related machinery, or other related jobs.

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