How to become a Waterside Worker

Waterside workers stack, check and secure contents of shipping containers prepared for storage or dispatch.

Personal requirements of a Waterside Worker

  • Enjoy practical and manual activities
  • Able to work in a team
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Capable of lifting and carrying heavy items
  • Good communication and organisational skills
  • Able to follow instructions

Education & Training for a Waterside Worker

You can work as a waterside worker without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. You can also become a waterside worker through a traineeship in Stevedoring. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.

Duties & Tasks of a Waterside Worker

Waterside workers may perform the following tasks:

  • pack and unpack containers, open and close hatches and secure cargo to prevent it shifting during voyages
  • clean holds and containers and prepare stevedoring (shiploading) gear
  • operate a wide range of light and heavy machinery, including forklifts, skid-steer loaders, front-end loaders and a variety of cranes
  • perform a wide range of clerical duties such as recording and checking cargo on arrival, storage or dispatch
  • direct equipment operations using various types of communication systems
  • moor and unmoor ships on arrival and departure
  • stack cargo on pallets, trays, flats and slings to facilitate transfer to and from ships
  • operate and perform minor maintenance checks on forklifts, trucks, front-end loaders and fixed or mobile cranes
  • act as team leader for a wharf or on-ship work team.

Working conditions for a Waterside Worker

Waterside workers usually work outdoors in ports, container terminals and the holds of ships. They work in most weather conditions, except very strong winds, and may have to work with frozen or dangerous goods, in freezers or in dusty conditions. They usually work shifts involving nights, weekends and public holidays.

Employment Opportunities for a Waterside Worker

Waterside workers are usually employed by private stevedoring companies, with some workers employed by state port authorities and related organisations, including local government.

Additional Information
To perform many of the tasks involved in stevedoring, industry standards require waterside workers to hold a licence to Perform High Risk Work. To gain a licence, you will need to complete units of competency at an approved Registered Training Organisation and work under the supervision of a licensed operator. You will also need to keep an approved logbook to record competencies achieved during training. Assessment by an independent assessor will then be required. To obtain a licence, you will need to be at least 18 years of age.
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