Of the many types of vessels that sail the rivers and seas, the tugboat is one of the least glamorous and exciting. Yet, there are few that are more vital to maintaining the smooth operation of maritime commerce and operation. Mammoth naval vessels, cruise liners, and other large water craft require the assistance of tugboats in order to safely dock, and a tug boat deckhand is a crew member responsible for many of the topside tasks that are vital to the safe operation of the vessel.
Like other crew members, the tug boat deckhand operates at the discretion of the boat's captain and must follow all orders promptly. Their many tasks include acting as a lookout for obstructions in the water, securing tow harnesses and rigging, performing maintenance and overhauling tasks, and other tasks as required by the captain.
Being a tug boat deckhand is a dangerous and physically stressful occupation, and applicants should be physically fit and able to lift and carry heavy weight. They must also be willing and able to work well within a crew, as cooperation is vital for the safety of all aboard. They must also know how to execute emergency procedures and be prepared to do so at any time, and be willing to accept the captain's orders immediately and without delay.
Educational requirements beyond a high school diploma are not strict for this position. Although applicants with previous deck experience are valued highly, many employers are willing to hire and train inexperienced applicants on the job.