Ship's Officers navigate and control the safe operation of ships and supervise and coordinate the activities of deck crew.
Specialisations: Navigating Officer (Ship's), Seaman Officer (Navy).
A diploma in maritime operations (watchkeeper deck) is usually needed to work as a Ship's Officer.
Navigates a ship by supervising the ship's course and speed according to pre-determined passage plans and safety procedures.
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. Employment projections data are only produced for occupations at the broad four digit Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) level. While data are not available for this occupation, projections data are available for the parent occupation, Marine Transport Professionals, under the outlook section.
Earnings and hours
Around 93% of people employed as Ship's Officers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 27 percentage points above the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 63 hours per week in their main job. This is 19 hours more than the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Sources:Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average.
Most Ship's Officers work in the Transport, postal and warehousing industry. They are also employed in industries like:
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Ship's Officers||All Jobs Average|
Around 45% of Ship's Officers live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland have a large share of employment relative to their population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Ship's Officers is 38 years. This is similar to the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 25 to 34 years.
Females make up 9% of the workforce. This is 39 percentage points below the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Ship's Officers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||1.0||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A diploma in maritime operations (watchkeeper deck) is usually needed to work as a Ship's Officer.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Maritime VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Ship's Officers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||2.0||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||4.6||12.5|
Source: 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.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Marine Transport Professionals who work well in a team, can communicate clearly with a diverse range of people and are reliable.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
50%Operation and control
Controlling equipment or systems.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
46%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Reading work related information.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
45%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
45%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
Talking to others.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
45%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Teaching people how to do something.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Figuring out why a machine or system went wrong and working out what to do about it.
Maintaining equipment and deciding what maintenance will be needed in the future.
39%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Looking for ways to help people.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
57%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
Describing land, sea, and air, including their physical characteristics, locations, how they work together, and the location of plant, animal, and human life.
48%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
46%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
43%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
42%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
41%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
40%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
39%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
39%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
33%Building and construction
Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
See details that are far away.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Communicate by speaking.
Quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Quickly move your hand, finger, or foot when a sound, light, picture or something else appears.
Know where things are around you.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Decide which thing is closer or further away from you, or decide how far away it is.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Use your arms and/or legs at the same time while sitting, standing, or lying down.
Do two or more things at the same time.
Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
43%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
84%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
75%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
75%Controlling equipment or machines
Operating machines or processes either directly or using controls (not including computers or vehicles).
73%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
70%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
69%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
69%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
68%Driving vehicles or equipment
Running, manoeuvring, navigating, or driving things like forklifts, vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
65%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
65%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
64%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
62%Guiding and directing staff
Guiding and directing staff, including setting and monitoring performance standards.
62%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
61%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
61%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
59%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
58%Estimating amounts, costs and resources
Working out sizes, distances, amounts, time, costs, resources, or materials needed for a task.
58%Training and teaching others
Understanding the needs of others, developing training programs, and teaching or instructing.
56%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
Interests and demands
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.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
96%Wear common protective or safety equipment
Wear equipment like safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets.
94%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
93%Consequence of error
Work where mistakes have serious consequences.
93%Health and safety of others
Take responsibility for the health and safety of others.
91%Bright or inadequate lighting
Work in extremely bright or dark lighting conditions.
Talk with people face-to-face.
89%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
Work with people in a group or team.
Talk on the telephone.
86%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
86%Outdoors, exposed to weather
Work outdoors, exposed to the weather.
84%Exposure to contaminants
Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.
84%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
84%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
84%In an enclosed vehicle or equipment
Work in a closed vehicle (e.g., car).
83%Indoors, not heat controlled
Work indoors without heating or cooling (e.g., warehouse without heat).
82%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
81%Responsible for outcomes
Take responsibility for the results of other people's work.
79%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
78%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
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, 53-5021.02 - Mates- Ship, Boat, and Barge.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.