What is a Dockmaster?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2019
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A dockmaster works to ensure the smooth functioning of boats docking and departing a marina. He or she may also provide special services or accommodations for those using the marina. The dockmaster is also responsible for inspecting the marina and making sure that necessary repairs get done, or that any problems are reported to the proper authorities.

Often, private marinas employ a dockmaster to oversee the docks and give help, advice or directions to those using the marina. They may also safeguard the marina from illegal use or incursion on the property. However, since private marinas often contain boats that are worth millions of dollars, security guards may also be employed along with a dockmaster.

A dockmaster has to be able to make quick decisions about where to dock boats, and full docks often mean the most work. It is rather like attempting to direct traffic in a crowded parking lot, where one must assume the responsibility if the cars do not have enough space to park or get damaged.

One important qualification for the dockmaster is a thorough knowledge of boating and nautical affairs. As well, the dockmaster has to be very good at judging distances, so as not to park boats too close to one another. If the dockmaster cannot readily make quick and accurate decisions, those owning the marina will soon find someone else who can.


Boating is fun, but navigating parking is not, particularly when one’s boat is highly valuable. The dockmaster must be able to make this process go smoothly and quickly to keep boaters happy.

A dockmaster also needs to be familiar with the regular customers at the marina, and may be the person to whom customers turn when they have issues or problems. In these cases, the dockmaster may be able to provide on the spot answers, or to decide to bring matters to the attention of the owners of the marina. This depends on the scope of the problem.

Dockmasters can expect to work in high temperatures, as boating excursions increase during such. They can also be expected to work most weekends, as these are the busiest Marina times. As well, certainly holiday weekends will definitely not be holidays for the dockmaster. At the minimum, the dockmaster can expect to work Memorial Day and Labor Day. In year round good climates, other holidays may also be working days.

Poor weather can mean little to no work, and only seasonal work. One looking for a year-round dockmaster condition should look to areas where temperatures are mostly mild.


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Discuss this Article

Post 3

True, but a dockmaster also has to look after workers on a slipway. I'm looking for work as a advanced dockmaster.

Post 2

There are actually two occupations known as Dockmaster. One, as above, pertains primarily to marinas. The other Dockmaster actually drydocks vessels, i.e. removes them from the water for repairs. This Dockmaster studies the vessel shape, structure, etc., and designs a blocking arrangement that will safely support the vessel when it is removed from the water. He then supervises the actual drydocking operation.

Post 1

A dock master is the position of a person, who prepares dock blocks and controls docking and undocking of vessels.

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