Working on the River

Deckhands working aboard a barge

With a history of excellence and a reputation for getting the job done safely and on time, Marquette Transportation sets a higher standard for marine transportation year after year.

Our river, offshore, and gulf-inland vessels generally have 5-11 employees on-board, including: 

Captain - Supervises all crew members who work on the vessel and must possess a current USCG Marine Officer Pilot’s License. 
Pilot – Performs the same job as the Captain when the Captain is off-watch and must have the same credentials as the Captain.
Engineer – Maintains vessel systems including areas of electrical, mechanical, diesel, pneumatic, hydraulic, and plumbing.
Cook (River Division) - Feeds crew members; providing three meals per day.  
Tankerman (Gulf Division) - Prepares the tank barges for safe loading and discharging of various chemicals and must possess a valid, current Merchant Mariner’s Document with a Tankermans’ endorsement.
Deckhands – Builds various tows and maintains the vessel.  (One of the experienced deckhands is designated as the “Mate”).    

Work Schedule

Because the vessels operate 24 hours seven days a week, all the crew members, except the cook, work “watches” of six hours on, six hours off.  Watch changes generally occur at 5:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m., and 11:30 p.m.  The cook serves meals between 4:45 a.m. and 6:15 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., and 4:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m., so that crew members can eat their meals either prior to going on-watch or after coming off-watch.
When the various crew members are not on-watch, then they are off-duty and may engage in their personal pursuits. However, they remain on their vessel at all times and live a life that is similar to being in the Navy, living in close quarters with one another.   

Crew members generally work “trips” of at least 28 days “on the vessel,” although some crew members could work more than 28 days at a time.  Thereafter, each crew member will depart and return to their land-based home for leave periods usually consisting of 14 days.  After some well-deserved rest and time with family, crew members return to board the vessel.  


Crew members have to adjust to a new lifestyle and become accustomed to being away from home.  Crew members make the vessel their home away from home while at work.   It takes a lifestyle adjustment to work on the water; however, as most will tell you, the benefits will be well worth the hard work and dedication. 

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