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Army MOS 88K Watercraft Operator

Army operations aren’t strictly limited to land. Ocean going harbor craft are often used to support operations throughout the continental United States and overseas. It’s up to members of the Army watercraft team to navigate, pilot, and maintain these watercraft. Army watercraft Soldiers have unique opportunities to embark upon specialized landing craft, gain valuable skills in vessel navigation, or be part of a tug boat crew, moving needed equipment on barges in local harbors or on longer open ocean voyages.

Watercraft operators 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. Watercraft Operators are primarily responsible for navigation, cargo operations and supervising other Soldiers on Army watercraft. Some of your duties as a Watercraft Operator may include:

Dock and undock the vessels
Drops and weighs the vessel anchor
Stands lookout and helm watches
Identify and interpret single-letter international code signal flags
Send and receive messages with radios, beacons and signal flags
Operate and maintain lifeboats and vessel firefighting equipment
Demonstrate knowledge in all aspects of marlinespike seamans
Secure all type of cargo using shipboard machinery such as capstans, winches, hoists and davits
Paint metal, wood, and fiberglass surfaces
Clean compartments and decks.

Job training for a Watercraft Operator requires ten weeks of Basic Training, where you’ll learn basic Soldiering skills, and six weeks of Advanced Individual Training, including practice in boat operations. 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
Watch standing procedures
Use of communications, electronics, and navigational systems
Ship structure
Log and message-handling procedures
Navigational mathematics

Advanced Responsibilities
Advanced level Watercraft Operators provides guidance, supervises and trains other Soldiers within the same discipline. As an advanced level Watercraft Operator, you may be involved in:

Maintain vessel charts, publications, and orders
Maintain the vessel log book
Navigate a boat or other watercraft
Beach and retract landing craft
Tow vessels and barges in harbors and inter-coastal waterways

Related Civilian Jobs
The skills you learn, as a Watercraft Operator will help prepare you for a civilian career in shipping, cruise, tugboat or ferry operation. You’ll be able to consider a future as a pilot, harbormaster or marine resource enforcement officer.

Related Army Positions
Bridge Crewmember (12C)
Watercraft Engineer (88L)

See Promotion Points for MOS 88H