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Entry Level Offshore Jobs

Beginning as an entry level offshore roustabout, a determined and ambitious hard worker can be leading a drilling crew in just a few years. In time, one can go on to become the head driller, a drilling superintendent, and even the Offshore Installation Manager. This is a success story that has happened many, many times. 

Many companies train and promote from within, and for those who show promise, offer paid training to become an assistant oil driller or assistant offshore installation manager, with the goal of seeing that individual succeed as the head driller or offshore installation manager. There are scores of individuals who got on as a roustabout or even a galley hand and ended up running an entire rig.

Offshore Roustabout Jobs

The Roustabout job is the most common entry level occupation for an oil rig’s marine section. Most new hires in the Drilling and Marine Sections start out as Roustabouts. A Roustabout is typically an inexperienced worker who works as a trainee or helper for those in more senior positions.

The offshore roustabout is comparable to the Able-bodied Seaman on board a ship. The Roustabout will assist with a variety of work, typically unskilled , which might include maintenance, cleaning rust removal, painting, or learning to direct the huge cranes on board.

Offshore, there are two categories of roustabout positions - those who help the drilling crew, and those who perform general maintenance around the rig, such as paint and rust removal, and helping the rigging crews and cranes.

Roustabouts can take two different career paths offshore - the first involves working the floor and moving up the drilling crew ladder; the second, towards becoming an offshore crane operator, or even the rigging foreman or crane superintendent.

After working in an offshore Roustabout position for a while, people will start spending time either on the drill floor, helping the roughneck, or on the Cranes, as an Crane Operator Trainee. He will start in either capacity by serving as relief during meal and coffee breaks, and then be given progressively greater responsibility.


Wages for entry-level Roustabouts run from 50 to 60k

Work Duties

  • Perform all duties assigned during deck/maintenance operations.
  • Proceed safely, and correct or notify persons of any unsafe acts and/or conditions.
  • Attend pre-tour, post tour, and special operations and weekly safety meetings.
  • Rig maintenance such as chipping, scraping, painting, scrubbing, and cleaning.
  • Assist in keeping the deck free of all unnecessary tools and equipment.
  • Relieve on the drill floor as required in order to gain experience for promotion.
  • Assist the Crane Operator with the loading and unloading of supplies.
  • Flag Crane Operator during lifts, install tag lines to prevent accidents or damage.
  • Assist in maintaining the general appearance of the drilling rig.
  • Keep the paint locker neat and orderly, ensure all containers are sealed, and all combustible materials are properly stored.
  • Be familiar with company paint specifications and procedures for use and care.
  • Participate in the development of newly appointed crew members.
  • Participate in training both onshore and offshore.
  • Assist the Helicopter Landing Officer during helideck operations.
  • Assist the Welder as needed.

Getting a Roustabout Job Offshore

If working on one of these rigs appeals to your sense of adventure, you can learn how to apply and where to submit your resume for hundreds of available oil rig careers using Rigworker and The Oil and Gas Jobs Resource Kit.

If you are in the U.S., the fastest method of getting hired is usually applying in person at the drilling contractors in Houston, TX and Lafayette, LO. In other countries where offshore operations are taking place, the same holds true - find the names of the offshore contractors, and apply in person. There are a number of advantages doing it this way, but the biggest is simply that there are often unadvertised openings that need filled yesterday, and if you go in person, you stand a shot at getting hired on the spot.

If applying in person isn't an option, then the next step is simply applying to drilling contractors individually, either online or by snail mail. Most of the mid to large companies have online applications. You can do this one at a time, or utilize the services of a company such as Rigworker, which will forward your resume to around 1200 energy and drilling companies, after ensuring that your resume meets the format that these companies typically prefer.

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