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Ship Mate

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What is a Ship Mate?

Example of Ship Mate Job Supervise or coordinate activities of crew aboard ships, boats, barges, or dredges.

What Do Ship Mates Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Arrange for ships to be stocked, fueled, or repaired.
  • Stand watches on vessels during specified periods while vessels are under way.
  • Observe loading or unloading of cargo or equipment to ensure that handling and storage are performed according to specifications.
  • Supervise crews in cleaning or maintaining decks, superstructures, or bridges.
  • Determine geographical positions of ships, using lorans, azimuths of celestial bodies, or computers, and use this information to determine the course and speed of a ship.
  • Participate in activities related to maintenance of vessel security.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Ship Mate?

Ship Mates state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Operation Monitoring: Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

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.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Other Ship Mate Job Titles

  • Ship, Boat, or Barge Mate
  • Fishing Vessel Mate
  • Deckhand
  • Second Officer
  • Dock Hand

Is There Going to be Demand for Ship Mates?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 38,800 jobs in the United States for Ship Mate. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 8.8% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 3,400 new jobs for Ship Mate by 2026. The BLS estimates 4,400 yearly job openings in this field.


The states with the most job growth for Ship Mate are Nevada, Georgia, and Tennessee. Watch out if you plan on working in Kentucky, Indiana, or Oregon. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Ship Mate Average Salary

The average yearly salary of a Ship Mate ranges between $35,410 and $144,690.


Ship Mates who work in Texas, Oregon, or Maryland, make the highest salaries.

How much do Ship Mates make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $79,750
Alaska $72,570
California $70,840
Delaware $74,790
Florida $78,880
Georgia $73,410
Hawaii $52,830
Illinois $67,020
Iowa $75,600
Kentucky $79,130
Louisiana $93,010
Maine $61,410
Maryland $86,460
Massachusetts $57,700
Michigan $83,040
Minnesota $73,910
New Hampshire $51,490
New Jersey $75,170
New York $95,370
North Carolina $55,710
Ohio $47,810
Oregon $100,150
Pennsylvania $74,780
South Carolina $67,090
Tennessee $54,480
Texas $103,950
Virginia $77,370
Washington $90,890
Wisconsin $48,190

What Tools & Technology do Ship Mates Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Ship Mates may use on a daily basis:

  • Computerized maintenance management system CMMS
  • Log book software
  • KNMI TurboWin
  • Jeppesen Marine Nobeltec Admiral
  • Maptech The CAPN

How to Become a Ship Mate

Learn what Ship Mate education requirements there are.


What work experience do I need to become a Ship Mate?


Where Ship Mates Are Employed


The table below shows the approximate number of Ship Mates employed by various industries.



Image Credit: via CC0 Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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