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Career profile Motorboat Operator

Also known as Boat Operator, Charter Boat Operator, Crew Boat Operator, Launch Operator, Launchman, Pilot Boat Operator, Water Taxi Operator

Motorboat Operator

Also known as Boat Operator, Charter Boat Operator, Crew Boat Operator

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$27,820 - $77,630 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operation and Control
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Geography
  • Mechanical
Core tasks
  • Maintain desired courses, using compasses or electronic navigational aids.
  • Follow safety procedures to ensure the protection of passengers, cargo, and vessels.
  • Direct safety operations in emergency situations.
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What does a Motorboat Operator do?

Motorboat Operators operate small motor-driven boats.

In addition, Motorboat Operators may assist in navigational activities.

What kind of tasks does a Motorboat Operator perform regularly?

Motorboat Operators are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Maintain desired courses, using compasses or electronic navigational aids.
  • Follow safety procedures to ensure the protection of passengers, cargo, and vessels.
  • Direct safety operations in emergency situations.
  • Operate engine throttles and steering mechanisms to guide boats on desired courses.
  • Oversee operation of vessels used for carrying passengers, motor vehicles, or goods across rivers, harbors, lakes, and coastal waters.
  • Secure boats to docks with mooring lines, and cast off lines to enable departure.
  • Service motors by performing tasks such as changing oil and lubricating parts.
  • Arrange repairs, fuel, and supplies for vessels.
  • Maintain equipment such as range markers, fire extinguishers, boat fenders, lines, pumps, and fittings.
  • Report any observed navigational hazards to authorities.
  • Organize and direct the activities of crew members.
  • Issue directions for loading, unloading, and seating in boats.
  • Clean boats and repair hulls and superstructures, using hand tools, paint, and brushes.
  • Tow, push, or guide other boats, barges, logs, or rafts.

The above responsibilities are specific to Motorboat Operators. More generally, Motorboat Operators are involved in several broader types of activities:

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

What is a Motorboat Operator salary?

The median salary for a Motorboat Operator is $55,910, and the average salary is $53,500. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Motorboat Operator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Motorboat Operators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Motorboat Operators earn less than $27,820 per year, 25% earn less than $37,700, 75% earn less than $66,020, and 90% earn less than $77,630.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Motorboat Operators is expected to change by 15.4%, and there should be roughly 300 open positions for Motorboat Operators every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$27,820 - $77,630
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Motorboat Operators?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Motorboat Operator are usually higher in their Realistic, Enterprising, and Conventional interests.

Motorboat Operators typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Motorboat Operators typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Lastly, Motorboat Operators typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Motorboat Operator tend to value Relationships, Support, and Independence.

Most importantly, Motorboat Operators moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Motorboat Operators moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Motorboat Operators moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Motorboat Operators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, cooperation, and concern for others.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Motorboat Operators, ranked by importance:

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Job requires being honest and ethical.

What education and training do Motorboat Operators need?

Working as a Motorboat Operator usually requires a high school diploma.

Motorboat Operators need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Motorboat Operators

  • 10.1% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 32.8% completed high school or secondary school
  • 29.0% completed some college coursework
  • 6.5% earned a Associate's degree
  • 15.9% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 4.6% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.1% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Motorboat Operators

Motorboat Operators may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, geography, or mechanical knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Motorboat Operators might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Important Abilities needed by Motorboat Operators

Motorboat Operators must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Motorboat Operators need abilities such as control precision, far vision, and problem sensitivity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Motorboat Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Far Vision
The ability to see details at a distance.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Spatial Orientation
The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.

Critical Skills needed by Motorboat Operators

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Motorboat Operators frequently use skills like operation and control, operations monitoring, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Motorboat Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.