How to Become a Boatswain (Mate) on Cruise Ships

Finding cruise ship employment as a boatswain is easier than getting employment in other areas of the ships deck department as it does not require a license. A boatswain mate is responsible for supervising unlicensed members of a cruise ships deck department. The duties of a boatswain will vary depending on who they are supervising and what areas of responsibility their team has. The deck department is responsible for a numer of tasks that do not require a license. Among the more common duties are routine daily tasks that are not performed by the engineering department.

These tasks may include deck maintenance, mooring, basic windlass duties, maintaining a ships hull, cleaning, painting and basic rigging operations. Having experience in these areas along with basic ship knowledge and how a ship is run is necessary to acquire a boatswain cruise job. Since the position requires the ability to supervisor others, it will be necessary to show competence in these areas. Boatswains may also find themselves as a third or fourth mate on cruise ships. This is an important position as it provides necessary support to the engineering department to ensure that a ship runs smoothly and safely when at sea.

Boatswains will report to a superior who ultimately reports directly to the ship’s captain. A minimum of one to two years experience onboard a ship and good English speaking skills are required to be considered for this position. If onboard experience is lacking and someone wants to become a boatswain, there are a few different options to get the experience needed for this position. For example, seamen and deck attendants are entry level positions that will provide exposure to sea life, experience on a ship and the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to apply for a boatswain job in the future.

Contracts for a cruise line deck department run for various lengths of time depending on the cruise line. Cruise jobs as a boatswains pay an average of $1,600 to $1,800 U.S. dollars per month. This pay can go a long way as there are many additional benefits to cruise line jobs that make the pay dollar stretch even further. For example, jobs on cruise ships include accommodations and meals so employees do not have to worry about these expenses. Marine time laws also require cruiseline jobs to include medical coverage as part of the benefits package.

Work days can be long in the deck department and the work is not easy. However, employees do get time off and have the ability to travel the world and see many different exotic locations. There are also discounts available for friends and family on cruises as well as discounts at port attractions, stores and restaurants.

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