Over 15,000 kilometres of coastline and Kiwis’ great love of the water offer many opportunities to build a career in the maritime sector

Careers information

Maritime Crew

What do they do?

Maritime crew may assist in vessel operations, fishing and taking care of passengers. Crew work on all kinds of vessels - passenger vessels, superyachts, commercial fishing vessels, charter boats, coastal freight ships, tankers and navy ships. Larger passenger boats have specialist hospitality crew. Fishing vessel crew may also operate fishing gear and large fishing vessels have a crew who process the fish.

A typical day

Typically shift work of varying hours and weekend work is common.

Deck crew assist with vessel operations, maintenance, cargo and emergency procedures. Fishing crew assists with fishing, cleaning, and processing fish. Passenger crew look after passengers, including preparing and serving meals.

Ships Officer

What do they do?

Ships Officers command the vessel and are also called Masters, Skippers or Mates. They work on all types and size of vessels. They have knowledge of running and supplying a ship; navigation, control, chart reading and hazard identification. They also manage cargo, ballast and fuel, and must understand maritime laws and safety procedures such as firefighting, rescue, and collision prevention.

A typical day

Typically shift work, on the vessel.

Ships Officers may navigate and control ships, take charge of ships when on watch, arrange repairs, fuel and supplies, supervise the loading, unloading and storage of cargo, organise crew activities on deck and organise ship security.

Marine Engineer

What do they do?

Marine engineers run and maintain a ship's systems including the engines, pump and electrical equipment. They have knowledge of mechanical engineering, pneumatic and hydraulic machinery, electronic equipment, safety regulations and procedures, firefighting, first aid and port regulations. 

A typical day

Usually shift work on the vessel but may be an eight-hour-day.

Marine engineers may fabricate, repair, maintain and diagnose machinery, maintain controls and alarms, maintain controls and alarm, maintain services at sea, supervise other crew and train them in routine and emergency duties.

     Sound like you?

Study areas
Helpful experience
Preferred work environments
  • Sciences or Workshop Technology
  • Physical Education or Health
  • Confident communicator
  • Reasonable strength and fitness
  • Good initiative/'can do' attitude
  • Good work habits/time management
  • Customer service or helping people
  • Making or fixing things
  • Working with machinery
  • Coastguard boating courses
  • Lifesaving
  • Experience on boats
  • Outside (marine)

Career pathway

SchoolEntry level jobsAdvancing jobsSenior jobs

No minimum entry requirement

  • Deck Crew
  • Passenger Crew
  • Engineering Crew
  • Fishing Crew
  • Watch Ratings
  • Skipper Inshore
  • Watchkeeper Deck
  • Mate
  • Chief Mate/Master
  • Specialist Fabricator
  • Supervisor
  • Leading Hand
  • Workshop Supervisor
  • Welding Supervisor
  • Foreman
  • Site Supervisor
  • Business Manager
  • Business Owner
 Unit/Achievement standards in schoolsApprenticeshipHigher learningHigher learning
Gateway programme available