Skip to content

88K Watercraft Operator

88 Series Enlisted

88H

88K

88L

88M

88N

88U

Testimonials

88K NCO

SGT - KSB

SSG - KSB

SFC - KSB

88K Enlisted Career Paths

About 88K

The U.S. Army Transportation Corps' 88K Watercraft Operators are disciplined, technical experts that provide the Army with maritime capabilities. They operate and maintain lifeboats and vessel firefighting equipment, stand lookout and perform helm watches, and operate Class B vessels. 88K Watercraft Operators are responsible for navigation, cargo operations, and supervising other Soldiers on Army watercraft. As part of the piloting team, you’ll train in the basics of seamanship and vessel operations, using electronic positioning systems, handheld navigation devices, and traditional watch standing procedures.

88K Watercraft Operators are trained in:

  • Boat handling techniques
  • Docking/Undocking vessels
  • Drop and weigh anchor
  • Interpret code signal flags
  • Send and receive messages via radio, beacon, and signal flag.
  • Emergency water survival
  • Lifeboats and fast-boat operation
  • Shipboard firefighting and other emergency procedures

88K Watercraft Operators are trained in:

  • Boat handling techniques
  • Docking/Undocking vessels
  • Drop and weigh anchor
  • Interpret code signal flags
  • Send and receive messages via radio, beacon, and signal flag.
  • Emergency water survival
  • Lifeboats and fast-boat operation
  • Shipboard firefighting and other emergency procedures

88K Cargo Specialist

Soldiers with the 7th Transportation Brigade - Expeditionary under operational control of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, are signing for Army Preposition Stock in Japan on June 24th in support of upcoming Theater Army and Joint Force exercises. Providing additional Army Watercraft Systems to deliver sea lift capabilities that increase the Theater Army’s freedom of action and ability to flow forces to and within the region.
Soldiers with the 7th Transportation Brigade, providing Army Watercraft Systems.
Pvt. Sidney Little, an 88K Watercraft Operator Course student, listens to the brief with other students in the darkness of the fire trainer April 16 at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. Little and her classmates would later don equipment to fight flames in smoke-filled, dark spaces with temperatures over 300-degrees.
Pvt. Sidney Little, listens to the brief in the darkness of the fire trainer

88K Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) (Sergeant – Sergeant First Class)

U.S. Army Soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 35 Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, receive a safety brief from the crew of the United States Army Vessel General Brehon B. Somervell (LSV-3) before setting sail for Hawaii Island on Oct. 17, 2021, on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Sustainment and support elements from the 8th TSC transported maneuver elements for the first time, increasing the operational reach of the U.S. Army. (U.S. Army photos by Spc. Rachel Christensen/28th Public Affairs Detachment)

At the NCO level, 88K Watercraft Operators maintain vessel charts, publications, orders, and log books, stand lookout and perform helm watches, and send and receive messages with radios, beacons, and signals. They are skilled in navigating a boat or watercraft and able to beach and retract landing crafts. They are the primary trainer of Soldiers and coach, counsel, and care for subordinates.

88K Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Knowledge, Skills, Behaviors

Sergeant Knowledge, Skills, Behaviors

Proponent Vision: Watercraft Operators are disciplined, technical experts that provide the Army with maritime capabilities. They operate and maintain lifeboats and vessel firefighting equipment, stand lookout and perform helm watches, and operate Class B vessels. Watercraft Operator SGTs maintain vessel charts, publications, orders, and log books, stand lookout and perform helm watches, and send and receive messages with radios, beacons, and signals. They are skilled in navigating a boat or watercraft and able to beach and retract landing crafts. They are the primary trainer of Soldiers and coach, counsel, and care for subordinates.

Developmental/ Experiential Learning

Positions: Marine Safety NCO, Coxswain, Leading Seamen, Dispatcher.

Broadening Experiences: Drill Sergeant, Recruiter

Experiences: Watercraft Operators will gain a variety of experiences through institutional training, home station training, and maritime logistics exercises. With sufficient experience they can become AIT instructors and hold positions of greater responsibility.

Additional Information

College and University Associate’s Degree (O).

Credentials & Certifications (Continuing Education) National Able Seaman (A/B) (D), STCW-Able Seafarer-Deck (D) STCW Proficiency in Survival Craft, Fast Rescue Boats, National Master 100 GL and Inland (O), National Master 100 NC (O)

Military Schooling Basic Leaders Course (R), Integrated Computerized Deployment System (ICODES) (D) ICODES-Maritime (D), Marine Radar Observer/Auto Radar Plotting Aid (D), Airborne (O), Air Assault (O), Recruiter (O), Drill Sergeant (O)

(D) Desired (O) Optional (R) Required

Baseline Talents Army Talent Attribute Framework - Tier 2

  • Attention Control
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • General Cognitive Ability
  • Reasoning
  • General Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Openness to Experience
  • Leadership
  • Tactical/Technical Competence
  • Management
  • Training and Developing Others

Assignment Developed Talents Army Talent Attribute Framework – Tier 2

  • Attention Control
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • General Cognitive Ability
  • Reasoning
  • General Communication
  • Situational Awareness
  • Safety & Compliance
  • Leadership
  • Tactical/Technical Competence
  • Management
  • Training and Developing Others

Tier 3 Army Talent Attribute Framework KSBs (Baseline)

  • Attentiveness
  • Problem Sensitivity
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solver
  • Multi-Tasking
  • Active Learning
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication Ability
  • Innovative
  • Adaptability
  • Cooperation/Teamwork
  • Coordination
  • Team Development
  • Delegating
  • Leads by Example
  • Motivating Others
  • Peer Leadership
  • Knowledge of System Inter-Relations
  • Proficiency with Mission Systems
  • Instructing

Tier 3 Army Talent Attribute Framework KSBs (Assignment Developed)

  • Attentiveness
  • Sound Judgement
  • Problem Solver
  • Structured Problem Solving
  • Troubleshooting
  • Multi-Tasking
  • Perceptive
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Interdisciplinary Reasoning
  • Communicator
  • Situational Awareness
  • Safety Compliance
  • Improves the Organization
  • Inspirational Leader
  • Proficiency with Mission Systems
  • Resource Management
  • Instructing
  • Assesses developmental needs of others

Staff Sergeant Knowledge, Skills, Behaviors

Proponent Vision: Watercraft Operator Staff Sergeants lead disciplined, technical experts in support of the Army’s maritime missions. They establish and enforce safety procedures, scheduling shipboard watches, preparing vessel load plans, and scheduling and supervising deck, life saving and firefighting equipment maintenance. The Watercraft Operator SSG understands how watercraft fit into Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS) operations. They instruct subordinates in watercraft and amphibian operational practices, procedures and techniques, assess risk and lead squads/sections.

Developmental/ Experiential Learning

Positions: Watercraft NCO, Section Sergeant, Boatswain

Broadening Experiences: Drill Sergeant, Recruiter, Instructor, ALC Small Group Leader

Experiences: Watercraft Operators will gain a variety of experiences through institutional and home station training, and maritime logistics exercises. With sufficient experience they can become Platoon Sergeants and hold positions of greater responsibility.

College and University Associate’s Degree (O).

Credentials & Certifications (Continuing Education) GMDSS Radio Operator License (R), Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) License (R), Radar Observer (R), Automatic Radar Plotting Aid (R), Certified HAZMAT Manager (D)

Military Schooling Advanced Leaders Course (R), Global Maritime Distress and Safety Systems (R), Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) (R), ICODES-Maritime (D), Recruiter (O), Drill Sergeant (O), Operational Contract Support (O)

(D) Desired (O) Optional (R) Required

Baseline Talents Army Talent Attribute Framework - Tier 2

  • Attention Control
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • General Cognitive Ability
  • Reasoning
  • General Communication
  • Situational Awareness
  • Openness to Experience
  • Leadership
  • Tactical/Technical Competence
  • Management
  • Training and Developing Others

Assignment Developed Talents Army Talent Attribute Framework - Tier 2

  • Attention Control
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • General Cognitive Ability
  • Reasoning
  • General Communication
  • Safety & Compliance
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Tactical/Technical Competence
  • Management
  • Training and Developing Others

Tier 3 Army Talent Attribute Framework KSBs (Baseline)

  • Attentiveness
  • Sound Judgement
  • Structured Problem Solving
  • Troubleshooting
  • Perceptive
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Analyze Data or Information
  • Interdisciplinary Reasoning
  • Communicator
  • Delegating
  • Encourages Discourse
  • Situational Awareness
  • Innovative
  • Adaptability
  • Improves the Organization
  • Inspirational Leader
  • Motivating Others
  • Knowledge of System Inter-Relations
  • Proficiency with Mission Systems
  • Mentoring

Tier 3 Army Talent Attribute Framework KSBs (Assignment Developed)

  • Attentiveness
  • Sound Judgement
  • Problem Solver
  • Structured Problem Solving
  • Multi-Tasking
  • Perceptive
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Critical Thinking
  • Interdisciplinary Reasoning
  • Communicator
  • Process Disciplined
  • Team Development
  • Inspirational Leader
  • Proficiency with Mission Systems
  • Resource Management
  • Delegating
  • Assesses developmental needs of others
  • Mentoring

Sergeant First Class Knowledge, Skills, Behaviors

Proponent Vision: The Watercraft Operator Sergeant First Class leads disciplined, technical experts in support of the Army’s maritime missions. They perform vessel master duties on a small tug, applying inland international navigation rules while operating vessels, disseminating information on weather and navigational aid changes, and operates navigational equipment. The Watercraft Operator SFC maintain vessel station bills and crew lists, process operations and intelligence information, receive, store, distribute, turn in vessel supplies, equipment and food, and coordinate the operation of collective lighter control points.

Developmental/ Experiential Learning

Positions: Platoon Sergeant, Detachment Sergeant, Small Tug Vessel Master, First Mate, Marine Operations NCO

Broadening Experiences: Drill Sergeant, Recruiter, SLC SGL, Instructor, Training Developer, Watercraft Operator (SATMO)

Experiences: Watercraft Operators will gain a variety of experiences through institutional and home station training, and maritime logistics exercises. With sufficient experience they can become First Sergeants and Senior Transportation Supervisors.

College and University Associate’s Degree (D)

Credentials & Certifications (Continuing Education) Mate of Class A-1 freight/towing vessels (R), GMDSS Radio Operator License (R), Electronic Chart Display & Info System (ECDIS) License (R), Radar Observer (R), Automatic Radar Plotting Aid (R)

Military Schooling Senior Leaders Course (R), Global Maritime Distress and Safety Systems (R), Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) (R), ICODES-Maritime (D), Operational Contract Support (O), MRT (O), SHARP (O)

(D) Desired (O) Optional (R) Required

Baseline Talents Army Talent Attribute Framework - Tier 2

  • Attention Control
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • General Cognitive Ability
  • Reasoning
  • General Communication
  • Leadership
  • Tactical/Technical Competence
  • Management
  • Training and Developing Others

Assignment Developed Talents Army Talent Attribute Framework - Tier 2

  • Attention Control
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • General Cognitive Ability
  • Reasoning
  • General Communication
  • Multi-Domain Collaboration (II) Safety & Compliance
  • Leadership
  • Management

Tier 3 Army Talent Attribute Framework KSBs (Baseline)

  • Attentiveness
  • Sound Judgement
  • Problem Solver
  • Unstructured Problem Solver
  • Multi-Tasking
  • Perceptive
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communicator
  • Encourages Discourse
  • Improves the Organization
  • Inspirational Leader
  • Organizational Perspective
  • Proficiency with Mission Systems
  • Resource Management
  • Task Planning & Management
  • Assesses developmental needs of others
  • Mentoring

Tier 3 Army Talent Attribute Framework KSBs (Assignment Developed)

  • Attentiveness
  • Sound Judgement
  • Problem Solver
  • Unstructured Problem Solver
  • Multi-Tasking
  • Perceptive
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Critical Thinking
  • Interdisciplinary Reasoning
  • Communicator
  • Joint Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational (JIIM) Perspective
  • Evaluating Compliance
  • Process Disciplined
  • Inspirational Leader
  • Organizational Perspective
  • Delegating
  • Resource Management

88K Enlisted Career Paths

As an 88K Watercraft Operator, opportunities are available to secure civilian credentials which can be applied towards points for promotion within the Army as well as expand opportunities for application outside the Army.

Additional Opportunities

Industry Based Broadening — Institute for Defense and Business (IDB)

Purpose:The focus of the IB2 seminar is Enterprise Resource Planning systems (ERPs) specifically the use of ERPs as a decision-making tool to improve readiness, lethality, and reduce costs for the Army.

Concept: Strategic seminar for officers, warrant officers, senior NCOs, and DA Civilians hosted by the Institute for Defense and Business (IDB) in Chapel Hill, NC.

Foundation Benchmark Output
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Business/ERP Integration, Intelligence, & Analytics Industry Benchmarking Practical Application Exercises
Industry/Academic Research Business Intelligence & Data Analytics Final Project Development
Problem Statement Analysis, Development, & Refinement Industry/Academic Research Project Presentation