Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels

risk level
Based on 126 votes
by 2031
or $45.77 hourly
as of 2022

Automation risk

35% (Low Risk)

Low Risk (21-40%): Jobs in this level have a limited risk of automation, as they demand a mix of technical and human-centric skills.

More information on what this score is, and how it is calculated is available here.

Some quite important qualities of the job are difficult to automate:

  • Manual Dexterity

  • Finger Dexterity

  • Social Perceptiveness

  • Assisting and Caring for Others

  • Persuasion

  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions

User poll

39% chance of full automation within the next two decades

Our visitors have voted that there is a small chance this occupation will be replaced. This assessment is further supported by the calculated automation risk level, which estimates 35% chance of automation.

What do you think the risk of automation is?

What is the likelihood that this occupation will be replaced by robots or AI in the next 20 years?


Slow growth relative to other professions.

The number of 'Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels' job openings is expected to rise 1.2% by 2031

Total employment, and estimated job openings

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period between 2021 and 2031.
Updated projections are due Sep 2023.


Very high paid relative to other professions

In 2022, the median annual wage for 'Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels' was $95,210, or $45.77 per hour

'Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels' were paid 105.6% higher than the national median wage, which stood at $46,310

Wages over time

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics


Lower range of job opportunities compared to other professions

As of 2022 there were 34,940 people employed as Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels within the United States.

This represents around 0.02% of the employed workforce across the country.

Put another way, around 1 in 4 thousand people are employed as Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels.

Job description

Command or supervise operations of ships and water vessels, such as tugboats and ferryboats. Required to hold license issued by U.S. Coast Guard.

SOC Code: 53-5021.00


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Old Sailor says
For all you who have sailed, I can't believe AI will do what is needed when there is that not often but inevitable "Oh Sh*t" moment.
May 16, 2021 at 09:26 PM
Jesse F. Malone (Likely) says
If we already have unmanned aircraft and are working on unmanned vessels, (tankers, freighters, car carriers, passenger ships) then who is to say the AI wont take over maritime jobs? Soon we will probably have remote control vessels or completely auto piloted vessels and no need for a bridge crew or engine room crew!
Dec 06, 2019 at 04:41 PM
Jason (No chance) says
more jobs being created from new vessels and old crew retiring than people graduating out into the industry
Oct 11, 2019 at 01:45 AM
me (No chance) says
they cant deal with water
Sep 11, 2019 at 05:12 PM
Another me says
Then people will make them waterproof
Jan 14, 2020 at 04:26 PM
Angus Mansbridge (Likely) says
In a number of maritime sectors the hands on element of ship handling has already been given over to Dynamic Positioning Systems. That these systems require constant local supervision is only a question of communication and reliability. We already see automatic mining trucks, container cranes and transporters and more recently harbor tugs supervised from remote locations. Because of the financial advantage to the ship owner in not having to accommodate and pay people to operate a vessel, it is only a matter of time before we see ships are operating in the same way.
May 16, 2019 at 09:57 PM

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