Sailors and Marine Oilers

risk level
Based on 136 votes
by year 2032
or $22.83 per hour
as of 2022

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Automation risk

60% (Moderate Risk)

Moderate Risk (41-60%): Occupations with a moderate risk of automation usually involve routine tasks but still require some human judgment and interaction.

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:

  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions

  • Manual Dexterity

  • Assisting and Caring for Others

  • Finger Dexterity

User poll

41% chance of full automation within the next two decades

Our visitors have voted they are unsure if this occupation will be automated. This assessment is further supported by the calculated automation risk level, which estimates 60% chance of automation.

What do you think the risk of automation is?

What is the likelihood that Sailors and Marine Oilers will be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence within the next 20 years?


The following graph(s) are included wherever there is a substantial amount of votes to render meaningful data. These visual representations display user poll results over time, providing a significant indication of sentiment trends.

Sentiment over time (yearly)


Slow growth relative to other professions.

The number of 'Sailors and Marine Oilers' job openings is expected to rise 0.4% by 2032

Total employment, and estimated job openings

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period between 2021 and 2031
Updated projections are due 09-2023.


Low paid relative to other professions

In 2022, the median annual wage for 'Sailors and Marine Oilers' was $47,490, or $22 per hour

'Sailors and Marine Oilers' were paid 2.5% 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 28,500 people employed as 'Sailors and Marine Oilers' within the United States.

This represents around < 0.001% of the employed workforce across the country

Put another way, around 1 in 5 thousand people are employed as 'Sailors and Marine Oilers'.

Job description

Stand watch to look for obstructions in path of vessel, measure water depth, turn wheel on bridge, or use emergency equipment as directed by captain, mate, or pilot. Break out, rig, overhaul, and store cargo-handling gear, stationary rigging, and running gear. Perform a variety of maintenance tasks to preserve the painted surface of the ship and to maintain line and ship equipment. Must hold government-issued certification and tankerman certification when working aboard liquid-carrying vessels. Includes able seamen and ordinary seamen.

SOC Code: 53-5011.00


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Jack (Highly likely) says
I think ai will be a heavy problem for humanity because if all humans gonna be replaced by ai people will be lazy and not able to and especially the marine jobs the ocean is heavy and the risk is more
Mar 22, 2024 at 09:25 PM
Adam (Low) says
Too much variability. Difficult, dynamic environment requiring human judgement and responsiveness.
Jan 06, 2022 at 02:00 PM
D.T. MacTavish says
It won't be fully automated for various reasons, sailors probably won't be fully replaced within the century but automation can make their jobs easier in the meantime.
Aug 10, 2021 at 02:49 AM
John says
Sailors need to be replaced by robots, they're all lazy, dumb, and poop all the time. Many sailors are also flat earthers, so I hope those idiots get replaced by robots.
Aug 20, 2020 at 09:25 PM
Sailordude says
Ok first being a sailor is a difficult and can sometimes be a labor intensive job. Also I do not understand at all why you say that we are flat earthers that is just weird as there is no reason to think that and also where in the name of hell did you get that idea.
Also the poop thing is just something I would hear from a 1st grader.
Oct 05, 2023 at 03:20 AM
Lorenzo Bonanno (Low) says
Sailor wages are a minimal part of the costs of the shipping industry, while insurance companies will push to maintain workers onboard vessels, especially officers, as they can be held accountable in case of accidents.

Another reason is the fact that most work on board ships is maintenance, removing workers from a ship would mean keeping a ship longer in ports for regular maintenance and cleaning of holds, which is not economically viable.

Before looking for automation of the jobs, shipping companies will look to ways to reduce their fuel costs, as it is by far the largest continuous expense.
May 19, 2020 at 11:40 AM
Faisal Ali says
This isn't a career for robots at all. It needs to be done by humans instead. A robot will be destroyed in a battle.
Apr 29, 2020 at 11:21 PM
Bjørnar (Low) says
Depending on what kind of boat you work on, but as an anchor handler I don’t think my job will be taken by robots
Mar 08, 2020 at 10:24 AM
Hank the Tank says
I am a marine engineer of the watch and my oilers are pretty worthless these days. Can’t run a mop, can’t weld, can’t paint, can’t learn. No interest in learning and advancement in the career, won’t put down the smartphone long enough to take orders. Just give me PTZ cameras and a remote alarm monitoring interface and automate the job away.
Mar 01, 2020 at 09:44 PM
David (Low) says
Robots will not be able to handle tasks which require a keen alertness of all of the variables involved with seafaring activities
Feb 23, 2020 at 01:50 PM
Kurt R (Low) says
Robots are dumb. The ship I currently work on has miles of wires for all of the supposed automation, and yet things still break and require human hands to fix. Sure this may change in the next 20 years, but my gut tells me humans will still need to be involved to some extent. Either way, I'll be retired by then. Good luck to all of the young aspiring mariners.
Jul 04, 2019 at 08:11 PM
Khan says
Machines can already play chess or fly planes though.
Why can't they sail the nth amount of seas?
Apr 07, 2020 at 05:56 PM

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