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Watercraft Operator

Transportation and Aviation
End of Category

Watercraft Operator - 88K

  • Active/Reserve:Both
  • Officer/Enlisted:Enlisted
  • Restrictions:None


Watercraft operators are primarily responsible for navigation, cargo operations and supervising other Soldiers on Army watercraft. They are part of a piloting team using electronic positioning systems, handheld navigation tools and traditional watch standing procedures aboard many of the Army's watercraft.

Job Duties

  • Dock and undock vessels
  • Send and receive messages with radios, beacons and signal flags
  • Operate and maintain lifeboats and vessel firefighting equipment
  • Secure all type of cargo using shipboard machinery such as capstans, winches, hoists and davits
  • Requirements

  • Those who want to serve must first take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identify which Army jobs are best for you.
  • Training

    Job training for a watercraft operator requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and six weeks of Advanced Individual Training with on-the-job instructions. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and part in the field. Some of the skills you'll learn are:

  • Boat handling techniques
  • Standingwatch procedures
  • Use of communications, electronics and navigational systems
  • Ship structure
  • Log and messagehandling procedures
  • Navigational mathematics
  • Helpful Skills

  • Interest in the ocean, sailing and navigation
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Basic understanding of maps and trip planning
  • Understanding of mathematical formulas

    The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is an examination that is administered by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command. It is used to determine qualification and helps predict future academic and occupational success in the military.

  • Mechanical Maintenance (MM): 99
  • Compensation

  • Total compensation includes housing, medical, food, special pay, and vacation time.

  • See the whole list of Army Occupational Specialties here

    To learn more about the Army's rank structure, see our complete list of Army ranks.
    To see a list of military medals and decorations that can be earned by servicemembers in the Army and other branches of the military, see our list of military decorations and medals.