Best paying jobs in marine transportation: Is Marine Transportation A Good Career Path? (2023)

Is marine transportation a good career path? You will find that out with this list of the best paying jobs in marine transportation industry.

If the ocean and the sea call to you, you’re probably the type of person who wants to work in marine transportation. The adventurer in you will find a career in marine transportation exciting and rewarding.

The task of this industry is to transport people or goods across vast waterways using cruisers, cargo vessels, and ferries.

It requires naval architects, marine, sea, and port engineers, yacht and boat builders, cargo ship workers, captains, technicians and pipefitters, welders, and mechanical engineers to complete its mission.

There are many marine transportation jobs to choose if you want a good salary with all the benefits.

What is Marine Transportation?

The movement of goods and people by sea is known as marine transportation. Sea transport is the primary mode of transportation for raw materials such as coal, oil, and grain.

A four-year Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation (BSMT) program can lead to a career as a marine deck officer.

Working in marine transportation can be both fulfilling and rewarding. If you choose a land-based job, you will have the opportunity to work on or off ships in the marine industry.

In any case, you should know the highest-paying and most in-demand jobs in marine transportation.

Best paying jobs in marine transportation

Is Marine Transportation A Good Career Path?

It is, indeed. Working in maritime transportation has some advantages. Working in marine transportation has the following advantages:

  1. Excellent pay

Marine transportation employees make a good living. Because this income is often tax-free, you can save more and get closer to your financial goals faster.

You’ll also save a significant amount of money by just not going on expensive spending sprees on the spur of the moment because your fares cover the majority of your daily expenses, such as food and lodging, while at sea.

  1. Long periods of vacation

Workers in the maritime transportation industry have one of the most generous vacation policies of any profession.

While being away from home is an unavoidable part of marine life, the chance to spend up to four months of the year uninterrupted helps to mitigate this.

  1. Outstanding and impressive work

According to estimates, 90% of the world’s goods are transported via sea, making marine transportation a significant industry.

Your daily impact will be evident, even if your global trade impact will be challenging to comprehend. Your work contributes to the ship’s operations every day.

There and then, this article will take you on a voyage to the highest-paying jobs in marine transportation.

Consider these excellent options if you want to work in the marine transportation industry. That way, you’ll be able to find both a well-paying job and one that you enjoy!

Best Paying Jobs in Marine Transportation

If you’re keen on pursuing a career on the water, you can choose from tons of high paying jobs in marine transportation.

Each of these roles has its own set of skills needed, certification and educational qualifications, risk factors, and financial advantage, but they all pay significantly more than the national average.

We’ve tried to include as much information as possible in this article to help you decide which of these best paying jobs in marine transportation is right for you. Continue reading to learn more about the specifics of each job.

Some of these best paying jobs in the marine transportation industry are as follows:

1. Port Engineer

According to Payscale, the average salary for a port engineer in the United States is $92,722. According to the experience of a port engineer, the average salary is as follows:

  • For one to four years of experience, the average total pay (including tips, bonuses, and overtime pay) is $87,519 (based on 13 salaries)
  • For five to nine years of experience, the average total pay is $86,739 (based on 35 salaries)
  • For ten to nineteen years of experience, the average total pay is $85,219 (based on 13 salaries)
  • For more than twenty years of experience, the average total pay is $104,228.

That’s not bad at all! According to these statistics, the port engineer profession ranks among the highest-paying jobs in marine transportation. If you want to be a port engineer, you should be able to:

  • Provide engineering support
  • Finish engineering tasks
  • Oversee a team of port specialists.
  • Identify and repair potential engineering flaws on time.
  • Regularly complete maintenance tasks.
  • To avoid accidents, adhere to strict marine and safety procedures.
  • Work well both in a group and on your own.
  • When cargo is included, assist in defining schedules and priorities.
  • Inform the port supervisor of your progress.
  • Keep track of all repair activities and expenses.
  • Technical drawings, blueprints, and repair manuals should all be read.
  • Be familiar with office software programs.
  • Conduct monthly inspections to ensure compliance with government regulations.

To be a port engineer, you must have an engineering degree in marine operations or a related field. As with any other job, prior experience in port engineering is always appreciated.

Try submitting additional certifications to increase your chances of getting the job.

2. Marine Engineer

According to, the average marine engineer salary in the United States is $91,250. The starting salary for a marine engineer with a few years of experience is $72,269, and the most experienced marine engineers can earn up to $116,500 per year.

Aside from having one of the highest-paying jobs in marine transportation, a marine engineer should be able to:

  • New naval vessels must be researched, designed, created, and built (naval ships, submarines, passenger boats, aircraft carriers, military battleships, or cruise ships)
  • Existing marine vessels should be maintained and restored.
  • Make blueprints for engines and thrust systems.
  • Make and test prototypes of various vessels.
  • Work in a group setting
  • Oversee the construction of full-scale ships.
  • Travel in the United States or abroad

If you want to work as a marine engineer for the military, you must first complete military school. Otherwise, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in engineering, computer science, math, or a related field.

Aside from the required education, to be competitive in the labor market and become a marine engineer, you’ll need excellent computer and communication skills and previous experience.

3. Sailing Master says the average salary of a sailing master in the United States is $79,931. Salary ranges for sailing masters in the United States range from $38,310 to $134,950, with the top 80% earning $134,950.

According to the International Sailing School Association, becoming a sailing master is difficult and time-consuming.

Prior experience and certification are required before applying for sailing master training. You will require:

  • 60 days on the water as a captain or watch leader
  • At least five sails in three distinct sea areas
  • 2 routes totaling more than 100 nautical miles as captain
  • Certificates in first aid and sea survival

If you meet these requirements and are at least 18 years old, you can begin your 40-hour exam preparation training. If you think that’s enough, think again! You require the entire package:

  • Appropriate appearance
  • Confidence
  • Calm in any situation that may arise or escalate
  • Excellent communication skills with your crew.

If you meet all the requirements and have the necessary skills, you will apply for one of the highest-paying jobs in marine transportation. Best wishes!

Best paying jobs in marine transportation

4. Marine Superintendent

A marine superintendent’s average salary is $84,100, with a salary range of $71,558 to $103,304, according to Salary Research. Salary ranges are determined by education level, certifications, additional skills, and field experience.

To become a marine superintendent, you must meet the following requirements and qualifications:

  • A bachelor’s degree in marine administration or a related field is required.
  • Experience in command (at least 5 years)
  • Class 1 competency certificate from an International Maritime Organization whitelisted country (IMO)
  • Knowledge of the Classification Society’s rules and the Flag Obligations of the state
  • familiarity with ship repair and safety procedures
  • Computer skills and knowledge of marine operations

As a marine superintendent, you will act as a supervisor and will be responsible for the following dockside and office duties:

  • Coordination of procedures and vessel maintenance in a shipyard
  • Contact the owners and commercial operators of each ship.
  • Dockside inspections, dry docking, repair, and maintenance planning, and safety procedures implementation
  • Manage the budgets of the ships under your jurisdiction.
  • If you want to be a marine superintendent, one of the highest-paying jobs in marine transportation, you should start by meeting all of the qualifications and requirements.

5. Marine Surveyor

According to Payscale, the average annual salary for a marine surveyor in the United States is $74,448. Salary varies according to years of experience. As an example:

  • A marine surveyor with one to four years of experience can expect to earn $65,000 on average (based on 22 salaries)
  • A marine surveyor with five to nine years of experience can earn an average of $79,765. (based on 22 salaries)
  • A marine surveyor with ten to nineteen years of experience earns an average of $80,000 per year (based on 20 salaries)
  • A marine surveyor with over twenty years of experience earns an average of $82,424.

Now that you’re familiar with the pay rates, here are the duties of a marine surveyor:

  • Examine the ship’s condition and cargo.
  • Ascertain that marine vessels are safe, seaworthy, and per regulations.
  • Keep an eye on cargo loading and unloading.
  • Prepare inspection reports
  • Disseminate findings to ship managers and owners.
  • Use legal safety and quality controls.

If you enjoy working in an outdoor environment and traveling, you’ll love the job of a marine surveyor. In this job, teamwork and interpersonal skills are essential.

You should also be able to pay attention to detail and precisely describe and categorize information.

Typically, understanding the industry and at least three years of prior experience in the field are required. Last but not least, proficiency in writing and electronic communication is required.

6. Dock Worker

A dock worker in the United States earns an average of $42,375 per year and $20 per hour, according to the Economic Research Institute. Dock workers earn between $31,061 and $50,468 per year on average.

A high school diploma is the most common level of education for a dock worker. Nonetheless, a dock worker is responsible for a variety of tasks, including:

  • Unmooring ships as they depart
  • Maintaining an accurate record of damaged or misplaced cargo
  • inspecting the unloaded cargo
  • Detecting damage or irregularities in cargo
  • Following loading plans
  • Participation in training programs as needed
  • Using ropes and lashings to secure cargo before leaving

If you want to be a successful dock worker, you should be able to communicate effectively with other dock workers to avoid accidents and injuries.

When it comes to physical strength, you should be able to operate heavy machineries such as forklifts, hand trucks, pallet jacks, cranes, power winches, and grain trimmers safely.

7. Diving Supervisor

According to Salary Expert, the average diving supervisor salary in the United States is $68,341 with a $1,326 bonus. Salary and experience are classified into two categories:

  • A diving supervisor with one to three years of experience makes an average of $49,293 per year.
  • A diving supervisor with more than eight years of experience earns an average salary of $84,124.
  • To be a diving supervisor, you should be skilled with various power and hand tools.

As a diving supervisor, you should be prepared to use drills, sledgehammers, torches, and welding equipment. As a diving supervisor, you will:

  • Work beneath the water’s surface
  • Ensure the diving operation’s safety.
  • Manage any mishaps that may occur during the diving operation.
  • Plan and manage the entire dive.
  • Examine, repair, and install equipment and structures using scuba gear.
  • Conduct experiments, detonate explosives, and photograph structures or marine life.

8. Ship pilots

According to Recruiter data, a ship pilot’s annual salary in the United States ranges between $36,810 and $153,070.

As in other professions, salary is determined by education and experience, with an average annual salary of $89,740.

It’s no surprise that ship pilots made our list of the best paying jobs in marine transportation. To be able to work as a ship pilot, you must first obtain a US Coastguard license.

After obtaining the license, you can command ships and guide them into and out of harbors, lakes, bays, and other areas.

A ship pilot’s position also necessitates vocational or higher training and up to two years of formal training before beginning work.

When you have completed all of the requirements for becoming a ship pilot, you should:

  • Supervise a crew and ensure that the ship arrives at its destination safely.
  • Navigate and command marine vessels (transport personnel and goods)
  • Prepare the crew and the ship for a crisis.
  • Keep track of and evaluate cargo, crew, and ship maintenance records.
  • Organize crews for all ship duties in and out of the harbor.
  • If you see yourself doing this, becoming a ship pilot could be your next career.

9. Cargo Ship Workers

According to Simply Hired, the average annual salary of cargo ship workers is $70,609. Suppose you’re wondering what positions are included in cargo ship jobs.

In that case, it’s essential to know that they include any position that assists container ships in moving cargo from one port to another.

Some cargo ship positions include captain, watch officers, engineers, electricians, and other skilled workers. Each position has distinct responsibilities that you should be aware of. As an example:

  • Deckhands maintain a safe and clean deck, paint the ship, and tow cargo.
  • Deck officers keep an eye on the deck, organize watch, and report any problems to the captain or other deck masters.
  • Captains are in charge of the entire operation of the ship.

Suppose you want to work in one of these high-paying jobs. In that case, you must have marine certification, which includes age requirements, demonstrated sea skills, and competency in various areas of ship protocol and maintenance.

Typically, you begin as an able seaman to learn the trade and study for exams. After passing the exams and gaining experience on the ship, you will be able to advance in rank and take on more responsibilities.

Engineers and other machinery or electrical operators must have a background and training in their field and certification.

10. Maritime Lawyer

The annual salary range for a maritime lawyer on Comparably Blog is $18,053 to $481,665, with an average salary of $86,514 per year.

What’s more, 57% of maritime attorneys earn between $86,515 and $218,218 per year, with the top 8% earning $481,665.

If you want one of the highest-paying jobs in marine transportation, you should consider becoming a maritime lawyer. Check out the requirements for becoming a maritime lawyer:

  • You must have graduated from a recognized law school.
  • Obtain a Juris Doctorate (J.D.).
  • Pass state bar examinations
  • Obtain a legal license in that state.

As a result, if you want to be a maritime lawyer, the first step is to apply to a maritime law school or register in a law school that offers maritime law classes and internship programs.

This way, you’ll get a broad education in maritime legal courses like maritime insurance and liability, international laws, maritime industry policies, shipment damage, personal injury, and environmental law.

Maritime lawyers with experience earn significantly more than those fresh out of law school, typically earning less.

Initially, inexperienced maritime attorneys work as associates under the supervision of more knowledgeable attorneys with admiralty law expertise.

They may become partners in a firm and charge higher fees after proving themselves on the job.


We can confidently state that there are numerous excellent options to consider, whether you’re just starting in marine transportation or looking for something new.

Examine the list of the best paying jobs in marine transportation and create your list of advantages and disadvantages. That way, you’ll have a realistic view of the salary ranges, prerequisites, and skill sets required for your chosen career.

Working in marine transportation is unquestionably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s one of those careers that’s both rewarding and full of opportunities and benefits.

Choose from among the many available jobs in the marine transportation field and choose the role that best suits you.

Finally, if you want a stable, high-paying marine transportation job with great benefits, the above listed are your best shot.

Related: Best Paying Job in Metal Fabrication

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