What Does a Marine Supervisor Do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 17 February 2020
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A marine supervisor manages offshore operations for an oil company. This can include working at an offshore drilling platform or oil depot where numerous ships may come and go with loads of crude oil and supplies. Employers typically require people to have training and certification to work in this field. Compensation can depend on employer and locale, and in some cases may include free transportation to shore for vacations and rest periods.

One aspect of the job is the coordination of human and environmental safety. Marine supervisors make sure all facilities conform with safety standards, provide training to personnel, and inspect incoming ships and equipment. They are concerned not just with the health of oil workers, but also with the risk of spills and other environmental problems. Routine maintenance is also part of the safety program, to keep equipment functioning properly and safely.

Logistics, which may include the coordination of shipments, ordering supplies, and working with multiple ship captains, is also the responsibility of the marine supervisor. This member of the team can decide when and where ships should dock to pick up oil, drop off supplies, and exchange personnel. Some facilities also have aviation capabilities, in which case the marine supervisor may handle helicopters and small aircraft as well. Controlling traffic is critical to prevent accidents and ensure a smooth flow of products and services.


Members of management and logistics teams may meet with the marine supervisor to discuss goals. These personnel can talk about limitations and ways to address them, such as staffing shortages that make 24 hour operation of a facility unsafe. If problems can be resolved with more personnel or equipment, the marine supervisor can coordinate these fixes. In more complex cases, like situations where a facility needs to be renovated for continued safety, this member of the staff may participate in the long-term planning to address the problem while maintaining safety and protecting profits.

The ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds is important for a marine supervisor. It can help to be multilingual, as personnel may come from all over the world. For convenience, a single language like English may be used as a standard of communication, but some workers may have trouble with the common language. This job also requires an understanding of shipping and procedures so the marine supervisor can communicate clearly and effectively with captains concerned about safety and loading in a timely fashion.


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