Boat and Cable Ferry Operators and Related Workers

Occupation:Boat and Cable Ferry Operators and Related Workers
Category:Trades and Transportation

About the job

Nature of work:

Lock and cable ferry operators operate lock gates, bridges and similar equipment along canal systems and workers who operate cable ferries and ferry terminals. This group also includes boat operators, and owner-operators, who operate small motorboats or watercraft to transport passengers or freight. Workers in this group are employed by the federal government, cable ferry companies, ferry terminals, marine companies and canal, port or harbour authorities. Owner-operators of small boats are self-employed.

Job duties:
Lock equipment operators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate telecommunication equipment or use portable loudspeakers to direct movements of vessels in lock area.
  • Operate controls to open or close lock gates.
  • Operate controls to raise, lower or turn bridges.
  • Observe progress of vessels passing through locks.
Cable ferry operators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Signal passengers and motor vehicles to embark and disembark.
  • Operate cable ferry across narrow waterway.
  • Perform routine maintenance and repairs to engine, cables and winches.
Ferry terminal workers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate controls to adjust landing bridge, position or remove gangplank, open or close doors and gates, and secure or remove docking devices.
  • Signal passengers and motor vehicles to embark and disembark.
  • May collect tickets or fares from passengers.
Boat operators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate motorboats, launches, small ferry boats and other similar vessels to transport passengers or freight.
  • Maintain boats and equipment on board, such as engines, winches, derricks, fire extinguishers and life preservers.
  • May perform other duties, such as checking for oil spills or other pollutants around ports and harbours, patrolling beaches and measuring depth of water.
Sample job titles:
  • charter boat operator
  • ferry operator
  • ferry terminal attendant
  • lighthouse keeper
  • sightseeing boat operator
  • small craft operator

To work in these jobs, you should have good health, physical stamina, and strength. Agility, coordination, and a mechanical aptitude would be helpful. You must be able to work methodically, take direction, work as a member of a team, and carry out instructions given by supervisors. On occasion, protective clothing, goggles, and safety boots must be worn. In these jobs, you may be exposed to noise and fumes.

Job requirements:
  • Some secondary school education is usually required.
  • On-the-job training is provided.
  • Master of a Small Craft or Master of a Small Passenger Craft certificate, issued by Transport Canada, is required for boat operators.
Other considerations:

There is little or no mobility among lock equipment operators, cable ferry operators and ferry terminal workers. Mobility between boat operators in this group is possible. Progression from boat operator positions to deck officer positions is possible with additional training, experience and certification.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Undetermined

This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Boat and Cable Ferry Operators and Related Workers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.

The median employment income for 38% of Boat and Cable Ferry Operators and Related Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $62,322. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Boat and Cable Ferry Operators and Related Workers95xxx
Minimum:  N/A
Median:  N/A
Maximum:  N/A
Minimum:  N/A
Median: $55,350
Maximum:  N/A
Occupations in Trades and Transportation57,925Decline slightly3,400High
Minimum: $13.00
Median: $20.35
Maximum: $34.00
Minimum: $7,580
Median: $37,269
Maximum: $79,787
Boat and Cable Ferry Operators and Related WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
Percent employed full-time88%89%
Percent self-employed44%13%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentBoat and Cable Ferry Operators and Related WorkersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton29%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley8%N/A13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeBoat and Cable Ferry Operators and Related WorkersCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
Median Age5447
GenderBoat and Cable Ferry Operators and Related WorkersCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
EducationBoat and Cable Ferry Operators and Related WorkersCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school20.8%$48,35318.2%$25,753
High school29.2%$62,57125.5%$28,089
Trades certificate12.5%$42,43429.4%$40,890
College certificate or diploma33.3%$66,11722.6%$39,023
University certificate or diplomaN/Ax1.0%$35,969
Bachelor's degree8.3%x2.7%$36,972
University advanced certificate or diplomaN/Ax0.2%$41,705
Master's degreeN/Ax0.3%x
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.0%$3,714
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile
Useful contacts:
Transport Canada
45 Alderney Drive, Suite 1475
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 2N6
Tel: (902) 426-6030

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.