25 Best Paying Jobs in Marine Transportation in 2024

People and goods have always been transported across the ocean between continents. Shipping almost anything is a simple and cost-effective process.

It is estimated that around 10 billion tonnes of solid and liquid products and containers are transported annually across the world’s seas by marine transportation, making up roughly 80–90% of international trade. Shipping is a complex part of international commerce.

Jobs in the maritime sector range from those on the ship’s deck to those in the engine room. While the vast majority of maritime occupations require working aboard ships, numerous other options exist on dry ground as well.

Transportation of goods and people across oceans and other large bodies of water is the primary focus of this industry.

So if you decided to make a career in marine transportation then take a look at some of the best paying jobs in marine transportation.

best Paying Jobs in Marine Transportation
best Paying Jobs in Marine Transportation

What is Marine Transportation?

In order to carry people and products from one place to another, marine transportation is used. Oil, equipment, grain, and coal are just a few of the heavy goods that benefit greatly from this form of transportation. The vast majority of the industry’s workforce spends their time at sea, either directly involved in the navigational process or acting as a supervisor over the whole shipping operation.

Is Marine Transportation A Good Career Path?

The answer is yes in this case. It’s true that the marine transportation industry offers certain perks for those who want to work there. Following are some of the benefits of working in the maritime transportation industry:

Good Salary

People who work in the maritime transportation industry get decent pay and benefits. This type of income is generally tax-free, allowing you to save more and reach your savings objectives more quickly.

Food and housing are included in your airfare, so you won’t have to worry about those costs while at sea, and you can save a tonne of money by avoiding impulse buys.

It’s An Impressive Work

One of the businesses that keep the globe turning is shipping. According to a recent survey, 90% of the items used by the global economy are delivered by water. It’s an important sector, and modern society would suffer greatly without it. Based on these indicators, marine workers are just as crucial as the maritime industry itself.

It’s perfect for you if you’re looking to make waves. When you implant anything, it will be felt all over the world.

Long Vacation Time

Workers in the maritime transportation industry may appear to be always on the go, but this is far from the truth. They get four full months off a year to make up for all the time they have to spend away from their families.

How Much Marine Transportation Workers Earn?

The average yearly pay of a person working in marine transportation is $62,760. The merchant marines employ the vast majority of these employees, and it is their job to ensure the security and efficiency of maritime transportation for commodities and passengers. The task might be risky and difficult, but it also has great payoffs. The maritime transportation worker ensures the security of cargo ships, tankers, ferries, and cruise ships, among other vessels. They need to be well-versed in marine law, navigation, and the weather.

How Many Jobs Are Available In Marine Transportation?

More than a million Americans are employed in some capacity within the maritime sector at present. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this sector will generate about 66,000 new jobs in 2020.

Nearly 7,800 additional employment in the maritime transportation sector is anticipated between 2020 and 2030, a growth rate of 12%.

However, even without job growth, there are lots of new positions accessible every day in the maritime transportation business, so there’s no need to worry about the lack of employment opportunities in the area.

As new enterprises emerge, there is a corresponding increase in the demand for workers in the maritime transportation industry. Additional marine transporters are needed so that businesses can have access to more ships and ports for loading and unloading goods. More than 10,000 positions in the marine transportation industry are open right now, and qualified applicants are filling them swiftly.

Many people are finding new opportunities because they have earned degrees with professional training. If you dig a little further, you might be surprised at the scope of this sector. There are millions of individuals working in various occupations, and as new businesses pop up, the need for people who work in maritime transportation in the United States will rise.

25 Best Paying Jobs In Marine Transportations

Jobs in the marine transportation industry range from working on the ship’s deck to maintaining the ship’s machinery. Best Paying Jobs in the marine transportation industry include:

Cruise Director

On board a cruise ship, there is a position known as “cruise director” that is filled by an officer who is in charge of planning entertaining events and activities for the ship’s passengers. The role of the cruise director is similar to that of a public relations representative.

Your responsibilities as an employee revolve around hosting passengers and crew at any and all onboard gatherings and performances. Particularly on bigger cruise ships, you will be in charge of a wide variety of guest activities. To pull off the various events planned, you’ll need to be able to efficiently coordinate and lead the entertainment personnel.

Compensation might be anything from $35,000 to $59,500 annually.

Port Captain

One of the highest-paying positions in the maritime industry is that of a port captain. The earnings potential is up to $112,250 per year. A port captain’s job is to make sure all the ships docked there are seaworthy before they set sail.

You, as the port captain, are responsible for making sure the ship is in compliance with all maritime safety standards, has sufficient and qualified personnel, and the right equipment, and is operating efficiently.

Your mission is to ensure the smooth operation of the port and the compliance of all ships operating there with applicable safety and performance regulations.

Port Engineer

A port engineer is responsible for the technical aspects of running and maintaining a port. One of your duties as a ship’s supervisor is to check that all engineering work meets applicable safety standards and marine regulations.

To effectively guide the technical team, you must stay on the dock at all times throughout projects. Many port engineers are also responsible for overseeing the maintenance budget and doing research into new ways to cut expenses without sacrificing the quality of service or output.

The average annual compensation for a port engineer is projected to be $70,500, making it one of the highest-paying occupations in the maritime transportation industry.

Naval Architect

An individual with the title of “naval architect” is responsible for the planning, administration, and maintenance of naval vessels.

Using your expert knowledge of physics, materials, engineering, and architecture, you are capable of handling the machinery necessary for shipyards and engineering enterprises.

You use software to create designs for ships, manage projects, and create construction drawings.

When designing a new ship, naval architects assemble a team of experts in many fields to help them produce scale models and prototypes. When it comes to designing ships, naval architects think about things like form, function, and stability.

Examining and diagnosing problems with ships, as well as the testing and maintenance that are regular duties for sailors, are other facets of naval architecture. The starting wage for naval architects is $67,000.

Ship Captain

Ship captains are among the most important people in the maritime industry. They are a highly paid profession in the maritime sector. The captain of a cruise ship, ferry, or tugboat is responsible for navigating and operating the vessel safely.

There must be a thorough examination of the ship’s seaworthiness and adherence to all safety regulations before setting sail.

Other tasks include charting a course, communicating with the crew, and overseeing the loading and unloading of goods and passengers.

Every detail of your voyage, from the boat’s route and speed to the day’s forecast, is meticulously recorded. Their average pay is almost $67,000.

Marine Surveyor

To put it simply, marine surveyors are indispensable to the maritime industry. Ships are not considered seaworthy unless they have passed a thorough inspection by a surveyor.

In addition, they check the loading and unloading of goods on ships. In addition to conducting inspections, a marine surveyor’s duties also involve writing up reports and communicating the results to ship owners and superiors.

Professionals in this industry are frequently required to make trips between ports. The typical compensation for a marine surveyor is expected to fall between $42,000 and $85,000 per year.

Able Seaman

In the maritime industry, able seamen have some of the highest average salaries. A competent seaman has several responsibilities aboard a commercial vessel.

They may be responsible for steering the ship as the helmsman, responding to emergencies, doing maintenance and sanitation, enforcing security measures, operating deck machinery, watching for obstacles, or handling cargo.

Able sailors often perform their duties on the ship’s deck, where they can best help the rest of the crew and where they may immediately halt operations if they observe something potentially dangerous. Their yearly income is predicted to be $53,000.

Able Seaman – One of the best paying jobs in marine transportation

Ship Superintendent

One of the highest paying occupations in the marine transportation industry is that of ship superintendent. The superintendent of a shipyard or dock is responsible for managing and monitoring ship repair projects.

You have a lot riding on your ability to determine what kinds of maintenance are needed, set a reasonable budget for the work, and keep things moving forward reliably.

Superintendents of ships are obligated to keep in touch with repair companies to ensure timely and adequate service. You make an assessment of the vessel’s seaworthiness.

You are now solely responsible for the ship’s safety. Superintendents of ships earn an average of $67,750 a year.

Vessel Operator

An average income of $53,000 per year places vessel operators among the highest-paid positions in the marine transportation sector. Operators in the maritime sector acquire hands-on experience with a wide range of boats.

The operator of a ship is responsible for overseeing its day-to-day operations, including voyage preparation, crew supervision, financial transactions, and administrative paperwork.

Scheduling and attending meetings with agents, stevedores, crew members, and contractors in an effort to explore ways to increase efficiency; coordinating any necessary servicing or maintenance. Operators of ships are experts in finding solutions to difficult problems.

Ship Fitter

Ship fitters are essential to the upkeep of ships. As a result, they have one of the highest pay among marine transportation jobs.

A ship fitter is a person who works on the crew of a ship. Cutting and joining the massive metal sheets that form the hull of a ship is among your many duties as a ship fitter.

To be successful in this line of work, you need to be an expert welder and riveter. You work at a factory, where you cut and weld metal sheets according to blueprint specifications.

You also work on the ship itself, often at great heights, positioning and fusing these sheets to the frame.

The median annual income for a ship fitter in the United States is $46,800, or $24 per hour.

Ship Security Officers

Ship security officers (SSOs) are responsible for maintaining order and safety on board ships. 

The ship’s security officer is responsible for developing, executing, and overseeing the ship’s security strategy in conjunction with the company’s security officer and the port facility’s security officer.

Security on board ships is a major concern for any maritime corporation whose vessels go through foreign waterways. Earnings for ship security guards can reach $36,062 per year.


As a member of the crew of a large ship, such as a cargo ship, container ship, transport ship, or other similar vessel, a shipmate’s duties include a variety of operational tasks.

The responsibilities of a shipmate depend on the individual’s level of training and the needs of the vessels they serve. It’s possible they’ll put you in command of the ship’s navigational and steering systems, or you may help them out.

It is one of the best paying jobs in marine transportation with an average salary of $65,000 per annum.


Deckhand is a job for someone who enjoys physical labor and is skilled with their hands. The primary responsibility of the deckhand is to ensure the safety of the ship through their hard labor.

A Deckhand’s physical fitness is crucial due to the demanding nature of the job, which requires them to be on their feet constantly and do tasks such as cleaning and lifting items for visitors.

In the United States, a Deckhand may expect an annual pay of $37,526 on average.

Marine Underwriter/Insurer

The marine underwriter profession is the highest paid in the maritime industry. The average pay for this field is $57,076. The term “Marine Underwriter” refers to an insurance expert who specializes in covering watercraft.

Helping company owners choose the right insurance is a common element of your job. Considerations like the worth of the cargo, the price of the boat, and the regulations of the countries through which the ship will pass must also be taken into account.

Marine Service Manager

According to salary.com managers of marine services may make up to $68,581 annually. Providing boat repair services is at the forefront of a marine service manager’s duties. One of your duties as a marine service manager is to conduct ship inspections.

You work with the ship’s tradespeople to implement the suggestions you provide to the ship’s owners or operators about maintenance and safety upgrades.

Working in this industry sometimes requires knowledge of commercial shipping or fishing rules.

Marine Mechanic

Maintaining and repairing motorboats and other watercraft is the job of a marine mechanic, sometimes known as a boat mechanic. Your responsibilities will involve maintaining and repairing both gas and diesel small engines, as well as other mechanical and electrical components of boats. To do your job well, you need a firm grasp of mechanics and the ability to diagnose issues and find solutions. All of a marine mechanic’s tasks include working with his or her hands, therefore manual dexterity is essential for success in the field.

In the United States, a marine technician can expect to make an average annual pay of $48,769.


A shipwright is someone who works on ships and boats. In a highly skilled field, shipwrights construct marine and shipping vessels. Construction of a ship’s hull and its accompanying equipment fell under the purview of shipwrights. It was not an easy undertaking to construct a ship. Even in the coldest months of the year, ships were constructed in open-air shipyards. Noisy and potentially dangerous tools included drills and riveters.

An annual salary of $52,063 is typical for a shipwright.

Radio Technician 

A radio technician’s expertise is in the planning, building, and servicing of radio stations’ transmission infrastructure. Radio technicians are responsible for maintaining and repairing equipment, as well as determining what kind of gear would work best for a certain radio show.

The salary range is between $47,000 and $71,000 annually.

Shipping Freight Broker

A freight broker’s job is to facilitate the purchase and selling of freight. Cargo transportation methods can range from flying, railing, sailing, and driving. They oversee a group responsible for the timely delivery of cargo by coordinating all areas of the logistics of transport. When a shipment leaves, how it gets there, and how much it costs at each stage are all decisions they make.

In the United States, the typical annual compensation for a shipping broker is $65,430.

Ordinary Seaman

The term “ordinary seaman” (OS) refers to a member of the deck crew of a commercial ship. The OS is the lowest-ranking member of the deck crew and is responsible for a variety of tasks, including keeping a constant watch and assisting with repairs. You are responsible for helping paint the hull, cleaning and polishing the brightwork, and taking out the trash.

To load and unload freight, you must manipulate ropes and fasten objects. Many of your responsibilities are meant to prepare you for the role of able seaman, which includes supervisory and management responsibilities.

Annual salaries might range from $31,000 to $52,000

First Mate

First mates and chief officers of ships assist the captain with navigation, manage the ship’s systems, and lead the deck staff. You are the ship’s second-in-command and play an important role in ensuring everyone’s wellbeing. You are responsible for navigating the ship, draining the water from the engine, operating the electronic navigational equipment, keeping track of the deck log, organizing the loading and unloading of cargo, and doing routine boat maintenance.

Whether you’re aboard a sailboat or a cargo ship, near the shore or far out in the open ocean, you’ll always find a first mate. However, the duties you do remain the same across vessels of varying sizes and configurations, so long as you have the appropriate training and certifications.

Yearly salaries might be anything from $34,500 to $56,000.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Marines workers get paid for life?

Workers in the maritime transportation industry who retire are given the same benefits as those in other fields. After several years of service, they are eligible for pensions.

Is Marine Transportation in demand?

Yes. As a result of the high need for maritime transportation workers, graduates of this program will have various career opportunities open to them.


Jobs in the maritime transportation business are many, and we’ve compiled a list of some of the highest-paying options above to help you make an informed decision about your career and future. This content is worth sharing, so please do so with your friends.

Here are 5 frequently asked questions about the best-paying jobs in marine transportation:

  1. What are some of the best-paying jobs in marine transportation? Some of the best-paying jobs in marine transportation include maritime lawyer, ship captain, and ship pilot.
  2. What is the median national salary for professionals working in marine transportation? The median national salary for professionals working in marine transportation is $62,760 per year.
  3. What is the job growth rate for ship engineers in marine transportation? The job growth rate for ship engineers in marine transportation is 9% from 2022 to 2032, which is faster than average.
  4. What is the education requirement for ship captains? A high school diploma is the minimum education requirement for ship captains.
  5. What is the job duty of a ship pilot? Ship pilots are responsible for safely guiding a vessel through ports, harbors, and other waterways. They work closely with the ship’s captain and crew to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the vessel. They may also maintain communication with shore-based personnel when required.

I hope this helps!