Working For The Army Corps of Engineers As A Deckhand

Hello Everyone,

I’m curious, does anyone know the details of working as a deckhand on a USACE dredge? Do you have to share a room? What is the starting pay? The typical work rotation? Do you receive shore leave? And other types of jobs one can do as a deckhand within the USACE.

Thank You In Advance,


Most hydrographic survey launches are under 50 feet in length and go out with one operator and one technician. Some of the larger ones use a deckhand. USACE jobs openings for deckhands, boat operators, dredge and lock personnel etc are listed on

Thank you so much for your response.


I worked on the dredge Essayons as a third mate for about 2 years; I could probably answer some of your questions.
On the Essayons and Yaquina you’d have your own cabin. Own head. The hourly is whatever the announcement says- prolly $21 hour at lowest step, $30 ish at top.
Shore leave is earned only when outside WA/OR on the Portland boats, but they either work 8/6 on/off or 15/13 depending on where vessel is working.
The basic deckhand maintains the dredge machinery, works on deck, assists on the vessel launch/crew boat.
At higher steps there is bosun, launch operator…

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Also you aquire leave at federal employee rates. About a day of leave(8 hours), day of sick a month. After so many years the vacation accrual steps up to 12 hours earned a month(after 3) and then 16 hours a month at 15 yrs.
Military service counts towards this as long as you aren’t retired military.
You can buy back military service for non retired prior service folks. Cost depends on how many years service. This only affects the retirement annuity calculation. If you don’t buy it back the years still count for leave accrual calculations.

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Thank you so much, for answering my exact question’s! If you don’t mind me asking, why are you no longer with the Army Corps of Engineers?



It was a great job in a lot of ways; I really liked my crew, Chief mate, capt, bosun, etc. If we had always worked a two week on/off maybe I would’ve stayed. I also mostly wanted to be home everyday more for family reasons. I can also be kinda wishy- washy about what “I want to be when I grow up” too, but I find myself wishing sometimes I had stayed. But I’ve never tried to get back on either.
The deckhands had it pretty good hours wise too. They worked a straight 10 hour on days.
The gym in the Essayons was great too. Other than the money I think I would’ve rather have worked on Deck sometimes… mates worked 6hrs on/off while underway, and that got old sometimes. I also live 6 hours from Portland so that travel every Tuesday back and forth was on me. The 5 got old real fast especially in winter and especially when we were in yard for long periods of time…

That is very understandable, you have to do what is best for you and your family. And your not alone in deciding, what “I want to be when I grow up” believe me. I’m just getting into this industry at almost 40. After trying to find my niche. Are you still working in the maritime industry?