Modern ships are technologically advanced and require seafarers to apply a wide range of expertise.
There are normally two main departments on board - Deck and Engineering. Ships carrying passengers also have a Hotel Services department and many other roles catering for the demanding needs and expectations of the paying passenger.
The Deck department is concerned with the overall operation of the ship; responsibilities including navigation, communications, cargo or other ship operations, stability and safety. The Engineering department is responsible for all technical services including main engine propulsion, other plant and machinery, electrical generation and maintenance, all controlled by a complex array of computer control systems that need monitoring 24 hours a day.
The number in a ship's crew varies according to the size and type of ship and its area of operation. The ships company may range between as few as six crew members and up to twenty-five or more. These numbers will be significantly higher on passenger ships and ferries in all departments but particularly in the Hotel Services department, depending on the number of passengers carried.
For further information on Careers at Sea as a Deck, Engineer or Electro-Technical Officer, use the links provided below:
Updated: February 2016.