What Is A Deckhand?

Are you curious to know what is a deckhand? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about a deckhand in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is a deckhand?

The maritime industry is a realm of adventure, hard work, and camaraderie. At the heart of many vessels, you’ll find deckhands, the unsung heroes responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of a ship. In this blog, we’ll explore the role of a deckhand, their responsibilities, and the unique lifestyle they lead while working at sea.

What Is A Deckhand?

A deckhand is an essential member of the crew on various types of vessels, including commercial fishing boats, cargo ships, cruise ships, tugboats, and more. The deckhand’s role is diverse, encompassing a wide range of responsibilities to maintain the vessel’s safety, functionality, and efficiency. This demanding job is not for the faint of heart but offers a unique and rewarding experience for those who choose to pursue it.

Responsibilities Of A Deckhand

  1. Deck Maintenance: One of the primary responsibilities of a deckhand is to maintain the cleanliness and orderliness of the ship’s deck. This includes washing, scrubbing, and painting the deck as needed.
  2. Safety Procedures: Deckhands play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the vessel and its crew. They must be well-versed in safety procedures, including handling life-saving equipment, fire-fighting techniques, and emergency response protocols.
  3. Mooring and Anchoring: Deckhands assist in mooring and anchoring the ship during port calls, a critical task to secure the vessel safely and efficiently.
  4. Cargo Handling: On cargo ships, deckhands are responsible for the loading and unloading of cargo, which involves operating cranes, forklifts, and other heavy equipment.
  5. Navigational Support: They assist with navigation by standing lookout and monitoring the ship’s course for potential hazards or obstacles.
  6. Routine Maintenance: Routine maintenance of equipment, machinery, and the vessel itself falls under a deckhand’s duties. This includes cleaning and minor repairs.
  7. Fishing Operations: On fishing vessels, deckhands are actively involved in fishing operations, including setting and hauling nets, sorting and processing catch, and ensuring the well-being of the crew.

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Life At Sea

Working as a deckhand means embracing a unique lifestyle. Here are some aspects of life at sea for a deckhand:

  1. Long Hours: Deckhands often work long hours, with shifts that can extend to 12 hours or more. The nature of their work requires dedication and resilience.
  2. Isolation: Depending on the type of vessel and its route, deckhands may spend weeks or even months at sea, away from friends and family. This isolation can be challenging but also fosters strong bonds with fellow crew members.
  3. Rigorous Conditions: Deckhands are exposed to various weather conditions, including rough seas, extreme temperatures, and heavy rain. They must adapt to these conditions to carry out their duties.
  4. Camaraderie: Life at sea fosters a unique sense of camaraderie among the crew. Deckhands often form close-knit relationships with their fellow sailors, relying on each other for support and safety.
  5. Adventure: For those who thrive on adventure and the open sea, the life of a deckhand offers a front-row seat to some of the world’s most breathtaking seascapes and marine life.


Deckhands are the backbone of the maritime industry, undertaking a wide range of responsibilities that keep vessels afloat and safe. Their hard work, dedication, and adaptability make them an indispensable part of the crew. The life of a deckhand may be challenging and demanding, but it also offers a unique and rewarding experience for those who choose to embrace it. It’s a world of adventure, camaraderie, and a deep connection to the sea that few other professions can offer.


What Work Do Deckhands Do?

Deckhands perform a variety of tasks related to the sailing of ships, boats, and ferries. Their jobs include preparing the ship for patrons, doing simple maintenance jobs, and cleaning the ship. Deckhands also spend some of their unloading and loading cargo when the ship reaches its port.

Do Deckhands Make A Lot Of Money?

Starting out as a junior, a yacht deckhand salary can be anywhere from $3,000 to $3,5000 per month, with very rare cases reporting to earn over $4,000 per month. However, after a few years working as a deckhand you might expect to take home anything from $3,500 to $4,500 per month.

Is Deckhand A Hard Job?

Latest reviews from 19 Deckhands surveyed on SEEK.

It can be physically demanding and often long hours. A high level of presentation must be maintained. Boats can be messy, cramped and awkward places to work.

How Much Do Deckhands Make In Canada?

The average deckhand salary in Canada is $54,600 per year or $28 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $40,765 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $73,465 per year.

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