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Captains and First Mates

The highest-ranking officer aboard any merchant vessel is the captain, followed by the first mate. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that there were about 30,450 of these workers in 2009, earning a mean salary of $5,895 per month. The lowest 10 percent of earners made $2,563 per month, while the highest 10 percent earned $9,560. The median 50 percent of these workers made $5,353 a month in 2009.

Motorboat Operators

Motorboat operators drive and operate motor-driven vessels between ships and other vessels, transporting people and cargo. The mean salary for these workers in 2009 was about $3,199 per month, according to the BLS, with the top 10 percent earning $4,993

a month, and the lowest 10 percent earning $1,725. The median 50 percent of motorboat operators made an average of about $2,768 per month in 2009.

Sailors and Marine Oilers

Sailors perform the daily tasks aboard ship, from standing watch to performing maintenance work and emergency procedures. The average monthly salary for these workers in 2009 was $2,609, according to the BLS. The top 10 percent of earners made $4,613, while the lowest 10 percent made about $1,803. The median 50 percent of sailors earned $2,984 in 2009.



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