U.S. Army MOS 88K - Watercraft Operator

Basic Job Description

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. 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.

Duties performed by Soldiers in this MOS include:

Docks and undocks the vessels. Drops and weighs the vessel's anchor. Stands lookout and helm watches. Identifies and interprets single-letter international code signal flags. Sends and receives messages with radios, beacons, and signal flags. Operates and maintains lifeboats and vessels fire fighting equipment. Knowledgeable in all aspects of marlinespike seamanship. Secures all type of cargo using shipboard machinery such as capstans, winches, hoists, and davits. Paints metal, wood, and fiberglass surfaces. Cleans compartments and decks.

Provides supervision and technical guidance for subordinates. Maintains vessel charts, publications, and orders. Keeps the vessel logbook. Navigates a boat or other watercraft.

Beaches and retracts landing craft. Tows vessels and barges in harbors and inter-coastal waterways.

Training Information

6 weeks, 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
  • Standing-watch procedures
  • Use of communications, electronics and navigational systems
  • Ship structure
  • Log and message-handling procedures
  • Navigational mathematics

ASVAB Score Required: 99 in aptitude area MM

Security Clearance: None

Strength Requirement: very heavy

Physical Profile Requirement: 211222

Other Requirements

  • Normal color vision required
  • Uncorrected vision acuity of not more than 20/200 in each eye, that corrects with spectacle lenses to 20/20 in one eye and 20/ 40 in other eye

Similar Civilian Occupations

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