12 Ocean Jobs for Marine Enthusiasts (With Salary Info)

Updated February 3, 2023

There are many careers available in different industries that allow you to work on or near the ocean. Some jobs are more involved and require extensive education and experience, while others are entry-level and offer you a chance to gain experience. If you love the ocean, learning about the many jobs involving the marine environment can help you decide if there's one that's a good fit for you.

In this article, we explore 12 different ocean jobs, including their duties and salaries.

A researcher is seen securing a sample from the ocean as a team works in the background.

12 ocean-related jobs

A marine career can include any position that allows you to work onshore or on the ocean. These types of jobs can involve helping to preserve the environment, researching marine wildlife, fishing, shipping, energy production or assisting in military operations. The following is a varied list of 12 jobs that typically involve working in or near the ocean. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, visit indeed.com/salaries 

1. Lifeguard

National average salary: $32,914 per year

Primary duties: Lifeguards oversee swimming and other aquatic activities. They help people learn how to swim and stay safe in the water. Lifeguards working at ocean locations advise patrons of hazardous conditions, such as high surf or riptides. They undergo training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and administering first aid and often help establish and maintain order and cleanliness in or around the body of water where they're working. They can work at pools, oceans, rivers, lakes and any other aquatic locations.

Read more: Learn About Being a Lifeguard

2. Deckhand

National average salary: $35,233 per year

Primary duties: Also known as a seafarer, a deckhand is a member of a ship's crew. They assist in the transport of various goods, such as fish, and perform other related tasks on the boat. Deckhands assist with the basic duties associated with the safe and efficient operation of watercraft. These duties include maintaining machinery, cooking meals, assisting with emergencies and moving heavy objects.

3. Marine biologist

National average salary: $40,074 per year

Primary duties: Marine biologists study oceanic life in both natural and synthetic or controlled environments. They routinely collect specimens and data for analysis. They study the characteristics of various aquatic species to better understand them and how they factor into the ecosystem as a whole. They also assess what impact humans have on these species. Marine biologists report their findings to help inform other scientists about these various species.

4. Marine technician

National average salary: $50,550 per year

Primary duties: A marine technician uses diagnostic equipment to inspect, maintain and repair boats and watercraft of all kinds. These technicians assess and diagnose various issues that affect the boat or watercraft and make recommendations for repairs. They're responsible for testing and repairing parts, such as propellers, hulls, boat engines, navigation equipment, sails and masts. Additionally, they test and install refrigeration systems, electrical systems, steering gear, accessories and sanitation equipment.

5. Ocean import manager

National average salary: $51,684 per year

Primary duties: Ocean import managers are responsible for planning and overseeing the import and export methods for the transportation of a wide variety of goods. They assist in import quotes for customers and also help develop export plans. They collaborate with a variety of vendors to help develop strategies that allow for the safe, secure and timely movement of goods on an international scale.

6. Commercial diver

National average salary: $55,203 per year

Primary duties: Commercial divers inspect, install, repair and remove objects that are underwater. They often work in collaboration with police departments, construction companies and shipyards. Besides maintenance and installing components, they might also have to take pictures or videos of underwater locations to assist in developing building plans.

7. Geoscientist

National average salary: $59,631 per year

Primary duties: Geoscientists study various physical aspects of the earth. They often work for the government, universities, public or private research institutions or companies that explore and develop natural resources such as oil, water and gas. Geoscientists analyze the chemical and geological elements that are specific to each site they explore. Ocean geoscientists and marine geologists study the ocean floor and beaches to find natural and synthetic changes in the environment.

8. Ecologist

National average salary: $67,173 per year

Primary duties: Ecologists are biologists who study the relationships between living organisms and those between organisms and their environment. They conduct scientific investigations to help classify plants, animals and other life forms and create reports based on the findings of their research. They can work anywhere life is present, including the ocean.

Read more: Learn About Being an Ecologist

9. Ship captain

National average salary: $69,844 per year

Primary duties: Ship captains command and lead a variety of vessels that sail on the open sea. They operate vessels in bays, rivers, lakes and oceans. They also hire and supervise a number of crew members. They oversee the maintenance of a variety of boating equipment and help keep their crew safe when they sail.

10. Marine manager

National average salary: $74,119 per year

Primary duties: Marine managers are responsible for the daily oversight of ship movements. They manage staff, allocate their duties and administer the training for each crew member. They also maintain close communication with operations managers to address issues as they arise. Marine managers drive improvement and promote the optimal service functionality of each ship.

11. Marine engineer

National average salary: $87,638 per year

Primary duties: Marine engineers are responsible for designing and building the basic structures of marine vessels of all sizes, including sailboats, tankers, aircraft carriers and submarines. Marine engineers can also work on offshore drilling platforms and the equipment on them. They also develop machinery and systems on boats, such as ventilation and electrical systems, and design propulsion and steering systems based on specifications and blueprints.

12. Optical engineer

National average salary: $111,314 per year

Primary duties: Optical engineers develop sighting systems for cameras, telescopes and other lens arrays. Their job responsibilities also include testing and calibrating optical systems. One specialized option for optical engineers involves innovating products for use in the ocean and other bodies of water. They must test, assess the effectiveness of and rework these systems as necessary to achieve optimal efficiency. Optical engineers could create high-tech telescopes, periscopes and other products to assist the vision of those working on boats and submarines.


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