Deck Hands perform maintenance and lookout tasks aboard ships.

Specialisations: Barge Hand, Ferry Hand, Tug Hand.

You can work as a Deck Hand without formal qualifications, however, they may be useful. A course in maritime operations might be helpful.

Tasks

  • Handles ropes and wires, and operates mooring equipment when berthing and unberthing.
  • Stands lookout watches at sea and adjusts the ship's course as directed.
  • Assists with cargo operations using on-board equipment and stows and secures cargo.
  • Patrols ships to ensure safety of the vessel, cargo and passengers.
  • Performs routine maintenance and checks on deck equipment, cargo gear, rigging, and lifesaving and fire fighting appliances.

More about Deck and Fishing Hands

All Deck and Fishing Hands

  • Unavailable Weekly Pay
  • Stable Future Growth
  • Higher Unemployment Unemployment

Deck Hands

  • 2,700 workers Employment Size
  • Lower skill Skill level rating
  • 78% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 58 hours Average full-time
  • 39 years Average age
  • 12% female Gender Share

The number of people working as Deck Hands (in their main job) fell over 5 years:
from 3,100 in 2011 to 2,700 in 2016.

  • Size: This is a very small occupation.
  • Location: Deck Hands work in many parts of Australia. Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania have a large share of workers.
  • Industries: Most work in Transport, Postal and Warehousing; Mining; and Public Administration and Safety.
  • Full-time: Many work full-time (78%, higher than the average of 66%).
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 58 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 39 years (compared to the average of 40 years).
  • Gender: 12% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

Weekly Earnings

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Transport, Postal and Warehousing73.5
Mining4.4
Public Administration and Safety4.2
Administrative and Support Services2.8
Other Industries15.1

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateDeck HandsAll Jobs Average
NSW27.431.6
VIC9.725.6
QLD27.620.0
SA5.87.0
WA20.310.8
TAS6.72.0
NT1.91.0
ACT0.31.9

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketDeck HandsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-195.1-5.05.0
20-2411.3-9.39.3
25-3424.8-22.922.9
35-4420.7-22.022.0
45-5422.4-21.621.6
55-598.6-9.09.0
60-644.4-6.06.0
65 and Over2.6-4.24.2

Education Level

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS, ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationDeck HandsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate0.6-10.110.1
Bachelor degree8.5-21.821.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma12.2-11.611.6
Certificate III/IV35.9-21.121.1
Year 1218.7-18.118.1
Year 115.5-4.84.8
Year 10 and below18.5-12.512.5

You can work as a Deck Hand without formal qualifications, however, they may be useful. A course in maritime operations might be helpful.

Checks, licences and tickets

You may need:

  • first aid certificate

Thinking about study or training?

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
  • You might be interested in Seafood Industry VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

Employers look for Deck and Fishing Hands who are fit, reliable and willing to take direction.

Filter Skills & Knowledge

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. Administration and Management

    51% Skill level

    Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.

  2. Mechanical

    47% Skill level

    Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

  3. Education and Training

    45% Skill level

    Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

  4. Chemistry

    44% Skill level

    Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.

  5. Transportation

    42% Skill level

    Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 53-5011.00 - Sailors and Marine Oilers.

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Filter Work Environment

Demands

The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

  1. Outdoors, Exposed to Weather

    100% Important

    How often do you work outdoors, exposed to the weather?

  2. Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment

    100% Important

    How often do you wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?

  3. Sounds, Loud or Uncomfortable

    99% Important

    How often are you there sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?

  4. Very Hot or Cold Temperatures

    99% Important

    How often do you work in very hot or very cold temperatures (above 32 or below 0 degrees Celsius)?

  5. Exposed to Contaminants

    92% Important

    How often are you exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours?

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 53-5011.00 - Sailors and Marine Oilers.

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