Boat and cable ferry operators and related occupations (NOC 7533)

About this job

Workers in this group:

  • operate lock gates, bridges and similar equipment along canal systems
  • operate cable ferries and ferry terminals
  • include boat operators, and owner-operators, who operate small motorboats or watercraft to transport passengers or freight
  • work for the federal government, cable ferry companies and ferry terminals, marine companies and canal, port or harbour authorities.
  • owner-operators of small boats are self-employed.
Common job titles
  • beachcomber
  • bridgemaster
  • captain
  • deckhand, cable ferry
  • ferry terminal / loading bridge
  • keeper, lighthouse


Lock equipment operators:

  • 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
  • watch progress of vessels passing through locks

Cable ferry operators:

  • signal passengers and motor vehicles to get on and off ferry
  • operate cable ferry across narrow waterway
  • do routine maintenance and repairs to engine, cables and winches

Ferry terminal workers:

  • 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 get on and off ferry
  • may collect tickets or fares from passengers

Boat operators:

  • 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.

Work environment

Key aspects of the work in this occupation:

  • Work takes place in a controlled indoor environment.
  • Work takes place outdoors in various weather conditions.
  • Work also takes place from the inside of a ferry.
  • Working with machinery, equipment and tools can be a source of injury.
  • The workplace may be noisy enough to affect hearing.
  • Workers may also experience vibrations of the body in the workplace.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

There is little or no movement among lock equipment operators, cable ferry operators and ferry terminal workers.

Additional resources