A deckhand works on a sea vessel – mostly merchant ships, though they find use in passenger ships as well – and performs the more mundane maintenance tasks related to the vessel’s operation. These include operating the ship’s ropes and tying/untying it to docks, releasing and pulling up the anchor, keeping the deck clean by mopping it and spraying it with water, and performing lookout when they’re idle. Additionally, deckhands may provide assistance to disabled passengers and crew members, and perform more basic inspections of the ship for any obvious signs of damage.
The job of a deckhand isn’t a highly demanding one, and the requirements for becoming a deckhand aren’t high either – a high school diploma is sufficient in most cases. Some prior experience working on a sea vessel is also a plus, though it’s not very common among candidates, considering that the job of a deckhand is one of the lowest in the ranks of a ship. Deckhands have various prospects for advancing in their careers, depending on the particular ship, and may even find promotion to some lucrative positions if they perform well.
A deckhand can earn between $26,000 – $41,000 depending on the amount of work they’ve been tasked with – in some cases where only one or two deckhands are responsible for the entire ship’s deck maintenance, the salary could be higher, up to $55,000. Deckhands earn statistically more than deck officers as opposed to the amount of work they’re required to perform, which has lead to some controversy in recent years.