What does a Dock Worker do?
Dockworkers load and unload cargo and prepare docks for incoming ships. They moor and unmoor ships upon their arrival and departure and maintain accurate records of damaged or misplaced cargo. They follow loading and unloading plans and participate in all company training programs. They install gangways to receive incoming ships and ensure the ship’s spill containment boom is in proper working order. They safely load and unload cargo using suitable material handling equipment, including forklifts, hand trucks, pallet jacks, cranes, and grain trimmers.
Dockworkers inspect unloaded cargo for damages or irregularities and track the unloaded shipment by inputting information using spreadsheets and documents required by management. They communicate with colleagues to ensure the safe loading and unloading of cargo continues and ensure the dock areas are clean and free of debris to prevent accidents or injury. Dockworkers need a high-school diploma or equivalency including the GED and a valid forklift license as well as an ability to operate heavy machinery.
- Oversee and be responsible for all paperwork associated with the dock to ensure it is handled timely and correctly by employees.
- Prepare receipts to help separate freight by SKU #.
- Determine work procedures, prepare work schedules, and expedite workflow.
- Provide training for dock personnel and close monitoring of safety procedures and policies.
- Help manage the inbound/outbound dock operation.
- Ensure that boaters observe all marina rules and regulations.
- Organize and maintain file systems, file correspondence and other records.
- Operate a forklift or order selector to transport parts in and about warehouse.
- Communicate and monitor workflow in support of manage loading/unloading of freight
- Associate's Degree or higher in computer science or engineering.
- Knowledgeable about loading procedures, including drop and hook routines.
- Able to work in hazardous and physically challenging conditions.
- Demonstrated strong time management, leadership, and problem solving skills.
- Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite.
How much does a Dock Worker make?
Dock Worker Career Path
Learn how to become a Dock Worker, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.
Average Years of Experience
Dock Worker Insights
“If you have a good manager running your shop it can be a really good place to work.”
“The pay is pretty good compared to most companies at the time I was hired.”
“Rude and terrible management.”
“It is a fun job and you get to work outside all day and meet new people.”
“You make good money so pay is great”
“Good good good good good”
“you get to use your hours however you feel there is no manager to report to when you call in etc”
“Not challenging and no career progression”
Dock Worker Interviews
Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of dock workers
A dock worker's primary job is the loading and unloading of ships that enter the port. Other daily tasks are helping to moor and unmoor ships, installing gangways, and ensuring the dock is always safe, clean, and free of debris.
Dock work is a particularly rewarding career for those who enjoy physical labor, working outdoors, and working as part of a well-oiled team. Dock workers also have the unique opportunity to improve their skills with training on various equipment and machinery.
Working as a dock worker can be a difficult job due to the requirement for physical labor, and the possibility of working long hours according to the ships' schedules. Ports have many hazards, especially with moving machinery and cargo, and dockers must work in all weather.