Type of jobs

The concept of job or function in inland navigation can vary a lot depending on the country considered in Europe. Nevertheless, some common patterns can be noticed in the different countries.


Two levels can be distinguished within the good transport jobs: the operational level jobs and the management level jobs.

 Operational level 

Boatman/Crew member:

Boatmen work under the hierarchy of their boatmaster and execute all the necessary tasks to navigation like manoeuvers or repairs. Always present on the deck, boatmen are in charge of the maintenance and cleaning of the boat. They play a role in the docking as well as in the guidance operations.

Depending on their level of experience, boatsmen can be divided into three categories:

  • able crewman/sailor
  • ordinary crewman/deckman
  • apprentice/cabin boy

In some countries, the function of “motordriver boatman” can be distinguished from the “boatman”. Besides the boatman’s tasks mentioned above, this type of boatman has a special focus on mechanics and might be allowed to take care of the oil change.


 Management level 


Right arm man of the Captain, the helmsman must know how to drive the boat and to use the instruments on board in case he has to replace the captain. Depending on the needs, he might execute the entire boatman’s tasks.


The Captain is responsible for the good functioning and manoeuver of the boat and is in charge of his command. He ensures order, security and work organisation of his crew.  He is in direct relation with the company he works for and is the point of contact in case of accident or incident.  He is also responsible for administrative tasks (delivery, reports, on board documents…). He might be called “Commander” after having gained experience and must ensure the training of his crew. Two captains (one commandant and one captain) might work on the same boat in order to ensure continuous service.


Crews present on passengers transport boats have similar qualifications than those for good transport but due to the permanent contact with public, those jobs requires additional relational and social skills. Depending on the type of vessel, professionals of the hotel trade can be present on board.