Top 22 Best-Paying Jobs In Marine Transportation in 2023

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Written By Editorial Team

Are you looking for a marine career? If you are a sea person who likes to travel in water and enjoys working outdoors in the sunshine, why not pursue a career in marine transportation?

If you are an ocean or sea lover, you would love to know that you can pursue a career in marine transportation. This industry has the best-paying jobs with great perks and distinctive career experience.

Marine transportation provides a major route facility that involves moving people and delivering cargo, bulk goods, and containers across continents. It offers great employment opportunities with a wide array of best-paying jobs and many added advantages.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development data, “Marine transportation is the key driver of international trade and the global economy. Around 80% of the international trade in goods is conveyed by seas and is relatively high in some developing countries.”

Most high-paying jobs require a high level of skills, education, and expertise; however, you can find employment opportunities in the marine transportation industry with as low as a high school diploma or a postsecondary certificate.

However, getting a job in marine transportation can be challenging as this requires physical involvement. Still, it is considered a promising career because it offers a variety of high-paying jobs, adventure, fun, and many other things.

What Is Marine Transportation?

Marine transportation is transferring goods or passengers from one place to another via seawater. This includes ships, barges, ferries, tugboats, cargo vessels, cruise ships, and passenger liners. There are three main types of marine transportation

  • Commercial
  • Military
  • Recreational

Commercial marine transport refers to the movement of goods and passengers between countries. Whereas Military marine transport involves moving troops and equipment across oceans and seas. Recreational marine transport is used for pleasure or recreational activity.

If you are a marine transportation professional, you can earn multiple benefits. For starters, you’ll get paid well for your skills and experience. You can enjoy working in various environments, such as ports, harbors, Oceans, Rivers, and lakes. Also, you can have access to many opportunities for advancement and growth.

Overview Of The Marine Transportation Industry: Employment Outlook

Marine transportation is a huge, diversified, and highly specialized industry that comprises activities related to the movement of people and cargo by water. 

Marine transportation is important for economic growth in many countries around the world. According to Clarksons Researchthe world maritime trade is expected to grow by 3.4 percent in 2022.

Marine transportation accounts for 80–90% of worldwide trade, transporting about 10 billion containers and solid and liquid bulk goods yearly. The maritime transportation system is a big component of global trade.

This means that the maritime industry is expanding, and more workforce is required. Most marine transportation jobs can be found in coastal regions where ports and shipping hubs are located.

If you’re looking for a high-paying job that doesn’t require a college degree but does require some training and experience—and no previous knowledge of boats is required—you could consider becoming a shipmate. 

You will learn more about these professions and how they work as you read more.

Is Marine Transportation a Good Career Path?

Yes, a career in maritime transportation is very rewarding as it offers good pay and a range of opportunities to choose from, with the added advantage of traveling worldwide. You can begin with an entry-level position and then get promoted as you go on. You get to travel worldwide and explore the open seas, which can bring a lot of excitement and thrill to your life.

As you do this, you will also meet people of different ethnicities and cultures, not to mention all the tasty cuisines worldwide!

Working in this industry will give you opportunities such as:

  • Possibilities for expected career advancement
  • A chance to work with a diverse group of people
  • Cross- country Travel opportunities
  • Fun and Adventure
  • Flexibility in your career
  • Outdoor living

If you dread working a typical nine-to-five job, this might be the career path as it offers flexible hours, and you don’t have to wear the ‘standard’ office attire. 

Attractive Pay Package

Employees in marine transportation earn a good living. Because of the often-no-tax nature of this income, you can save more and get closer to your financial goals faster.

You’ll also save a lot of money by not going on expensive shopping sprees on the spur of the moment because most of your living expenses, such as food and lodging, are covered by your fares while at sea.

No Formal Education Required

Many jobs in the marine transportation industry are entry-level positions that require a minimum skill set and basic educational background. As you land the job, your experience will make you get to the senior role.

It Is a Huge Industry That Contributes To Economic Prosperity.

It is recorded that 90% of global goods are transported by sea, making marine transportation a huge industry.

Every day, your work contributes to economic stability.

Best Paying Jobs In Marine Transportation:

When it comes to the best-paying jobs in marine transportation, several choices are available. Some of these jobs are located on ships, while others are based on land.

Job titleThe average salary in USDSkills/ qualifications requirements
Port engineer$92,722Ability to use, maintain and repair water tools and equipment
Sailing master$79,931Weather informationpoints of sailbalancing boat
Ship pilots$89,740Read and understand work-related materialAbility to understand spoken information
Marine engineer$91,250Physics knowledge, reasoning skills, complex problem-solving skills
Marine Superintendent$84,100Managerial qualitiesStrong leadershipExcellent communication skills
Maritime lawyers$86,514Obtain a Juris Doctorate (J.D.)Pass state bar examinations
Marine surveyor$74 448TeamworkInterpersonal skills
Naval architect$ 67, 000IT skillsCommercial awareness
Bosun$ 53, 125Decisivenessassertiveness
Diving supervisor$68,341Water Tools managementScientific skills
Marine insurer$ 57, 076Understanding policies and lawsRisk management
Oil driller$ 73, 622Good coordination
Dock worker$42,375Able to operate heavy machineryPhysically fit
Freight engineer$ 55, 583Technical skills
Cargo ship workers$70,609Physically fit, manual dexterityComfortable working with heightsComprehend math concept
Ships fitter$ 43, 112High school diploma
Marine mechanic$ 36, 062Administrative skillsProblem-solvingDetail oriented
Commercial divers$ 60, 000Mastery of diving equipmentStaminaPhysical strength
Ordinary seamanship$ 51, 283Competent in sanitation, general maintenance, geography, and telecommunication system
Manager of the marine service department$ 62, 500Must be familiar with commercial fishing
Shipwright$ 85, 113CreativeOrganizational skills
Radio Technician$ 47, 000Analytical skills

1. Port Engineer

Average salary: $92,722

 Port engineers are individual that provides engineering assistance in a port setting. They conduct regular port maintenance, engage with other port specialists and ensure that all engineering tasks meet marine regulations and safety standards.

A role of a port engineer is to support the technical aspect of the port operations and infrastructure. Their duties involve designing a maintenance budget and searching for ways to lower costs and bring efficiency to port operations. They also perform monthly inspections to abide by government regulations.

2. Sailing Master

Average salary: $79,931

The sailing master is the senior officer that looks after duties such as ship sailing functions and the ship’s navigation. He sets the courses, finds the ship location, supervises the midshipmen, and carries out all ship maintenance works.

3. Ship Pilots

Average salary: $89,740

Ship pilots are responsible for every aspect of the vessel and voyage. Like sailing masters, they use navigational equipment to determine the ship’s course and direction. They determine the vessel’s course and measure speed depending on weather, local winds, water depths, and tides.

They ensure all safety standards are fulfilled, and in case of any violation of the law, they report it immediately.

To become a ship pilot, you must start by attending a marine academy or trade school.

4. Marine Engineer

Average salary: $91,250

Marine engineers fulfill the role of naval architects in designing, installing, repairing, and testing marine equipment.

This is an office-based job where these people use different design software and tools to develop marine solutions. They consider factors such as ship strength, speed, and weight capacity and analyze how much cargo a ship can carry.

5. Marine Superintendent

Average salary: $84,100

He is a transport manager that handles safe, efficient, and economical vessel operations. He coordinates marine operations and directs a repair project at a dockyard or shipyard. He conducts dockside inspections, enforces safety regulations, makes all repairs and maintenance arrangements, and handles budget activities.

He also ensures whether there is a necessary need for ship repair, and if it does, He makes sure that the repairing task is done correctly and timely.

6. Maritime Lawyers

Average salary: $ $86,514

They are attorneys that take on responsibilities for boating accidents or maritime injuries that occur during water activity.

Their duties involve protecting seamen from seacraft or marine vessels, conducting cases, handling complaints, and drafting documents.

To get this job position, you must register in a law school that offers internship programs or law classes.

7. Marine Surveyor

Average Salary: $74 448

Marine surveyors assess, examine and monitor the condition, structure, and machinery of marine vessels of all types. They conduct thorough and detailed analyses of each vessel to determine if it is seaworthy. They are responsible for checking if the vessels are well-equipped, properly maintained, and constructed according to marine laws standards.

Anyone willing to work as a marine surveyor must know the ship’s mechanical and electrical systems and have essential boat construction and design information.

8. Naval architect

Average salary: 86,693

An architectural professional that works specifically in designing proposals and building specifications for ship construction including detailed ship designing, boats, and other maritime vessels. They carry out analysis and assessment including hydrodynamics and stability.

They specialize in design construction, repair, research and development, and in several other areas.

9. Bosun

Average salary: $53,125

They are in charge of the safety and welfare of the ship’s equipment and the crew. They ensure that all safety equipment is in good working condition, maintain discipline on board the ship, and are responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of the ship.

10. Diving Supervisor

Average Salary: $ 68, 341

The diving supervisor is the most critical role responsible for all features of the diving operations. He works around safety management and protects the personnel from any incident involving a professional diving operation.

11. Marine Insurer

Average Salary: 57, 076

12. Oil Driller

Average Salary: $ 73, 622

This basic offshore job requires a person to drill an oil rig. This is one of the riskiest jobs, including drilling oil from ocean depths.

Oil driller has to ensure that all these aspects of the drilling operations are properly done so that no accidents can occur. When the oil rig is established in the middle of the sea, it becomes the oil driller’s primary responsibility to look after whether the rig is working properly and whether all the oil is pumped out through the pipes efficiently.

13. Dock Worker

Average Salary: $42,375

A dock worker is a laborer that loads and unloads cargo in a port. He is responsible for preparing docks for incoming ships, loading plans, tying them to the mooring to secure them, and maintaining an accurate record of misplaced or damaged cargo.

14. Freight Engineer

Average Salary: $55, 583

The most important role is the cargo/freight engineer, who manages vessel cargo. Since the marine industry works majorly in transporting goods, this role is the most favorable choice with a good salary package.

He also checks the operation and maintenance of all cargo-related machinery. This supervision complies with the maintenance team’s decision and the integrated work plan provision.

15. Cargo Ship Workers

Average Salary: $ 70, 609

All the labor required to transfer cargo from port to port worldwide is called cargo ship workers. They can be technicians, captains, engineers, electricians, or skilled tradespersons.

This role is critical and tough but proves to be a good choice in terms of monetary return.

16. Ships Fitter

Average Salary: $ 43, 112

As a ship fitter, you are responsible for maintaining a shipping vessel’s structural and mechanical integrity. You also need to take responsibility for maintaining the engine room machinery.

This role is crucial to maintain the upkeep of the ship. A person must know welding to master this role. 

17. Marine Mechanic

Average Salary: $ 36, 062

Marine mechanics fulfill the responsibility of welding at elevated pressures. They take into account two types of welding work. Dry welding is conducted under a pressurized enclosure normally in a dry environment. Whereas, wet welding takes place underwater. It is also known as hyperbaric welding.

This professional team ensures the ship’s upkeep when they travel across many oceans. The marine mechanic keeps the boats and ships in good working conditions to prevent them from saltwater and tough weather conditions.

18. Commercial Divers

Average Salary: $ 60, 000

A person who works below the water surface uses scuba equipment to inspect, install, repair, and remove equipment and structures. The diver engages in underwater tasks for industrial, construction, engineering, maintenance, or other commercial purposes.

19. Ordinary Seaman

Average Salary: $ 51, 283

An Ordinary Seaman is a civil service mariner who provides his duties for the Navy. He works around tasks to provide on-time logistics, strategic sealift, and specialized missions for the Navy.

Some of the Common responsibilities of an Ordinary Seaman include ship mooring duties and maintaining the vessel’s condition and cleanliness. They also take care of all rope lines on board.

20. Manager Of The Marine Service Department

Average Salary: $62, 500

The role of a marine manager is to supervise all the transportation projects, research workflow processes, monitor performance, and conduct strategic meetings with stakeholders.

The marine manager directs activities related to boat-repair services and obtains details regarding the seacraft condition.

21. Shipwright

Annual salary: $85,113 

The shipwright works on constructing the ship’s structure and most of the internal fittings. A shipwright is a highly trained professional who focuses on designing marine and ship vessels.

A shipwright, also known as a Boat Builder, designs and constructs watercraft. From small fishing boats, handmade canoes, and recreational schooners to large cargo ships and naval vessels.

22. Radio Technician

Annual salary: $47,000

A radio technician works in the designing, installing, and maintenance of radio station transmitting systems. As a radio technician, the duties include selecting and maintaining the best-suited gear for the radio show and carrying out any required electrical and gear repairs.


Your love for the sea is the first quality you should look for before considering your career in marine transportation.

The jobs in marine transportation are well-paid, provide prospects for promotion, and allow you to work with a diverse group of individuals.

This can be one of your most favorable careers if you enjoy water adventures, sailing on the sea, and traveling from coast to coast. Remember to include the stamina to confront occasional rough sea weather and large waves during your water journey.