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Transport & Logistics Industry Skills Council » General Purpose Hand

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A General Purpose Hand is an entry level position within the maritime sector. A General Purpose Hand undertakes a wide range of fishery and maritime work, both on land and at sea. They work closely with the Master/Engineer to ensure the safety of the vessel, passengers and crew.

The responsibilities may include:

  • Purchasing or leasing suitable vehicles and essential equipment
  • Assisting in berthing and unberthing vessels
  • Maintenance duties such as greasing machinery, cleaning and painting
  • Watchkeeping
  • Operation of winches and equipment

The duties of a General Purpose Hand can vary depending on the vessel they work on. A fishing vessel may require the use of pots, lines and scuba equipment. A charter vessel may require hospitality services, including taking care of passengers and serving refreshments.

The position of General Purpose Hand is also the starting point for career progression within the sector to other occupations such as a Coxswain, Master and Engineer.

Industry facts

  • A General Purpose Hand may work on a wide range of vessels including; ferries, trawlers, dredgers, customs patrol vessels, fisheries patrol boats and pilot vessels.
  • A General Purpose Hand must be physically fit, have normal colour vision, an awareness of maritime safety issues and excellent handeye coordination.
  • This role involves work in all types of weather conditions and some positions require long hours at sea.

Entry Qualifications

Workers must hold a First Aid Certificate and a current certificate of medical fitness that certifies they meet required medical and eyesight standards.

AMSA Certificates of Rating apply to this role dependent on vessel type/size.

Training qualification:

  • Certificate I in Maritime
  • Operations (General Purpose Hand)
  • Certificate IV in Logistics

Estimated Salary

$41,000 – $82,000*
*Wages will vary according to your level of skill, experience, employer and geographical location.

Download Profile

PDF document General Purpose Hand Career Overview