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Boatmen are the last professionals involved in the arrival of a ship and make sure she is properly docked and consistently secured to the land throughout the stopover.

For these much experienced and trained sailors each boat represents a new challenge. On board their launches, on land or at sea, boatmen are specialists who operate in sometimes difficult conditions but always with maximal safety for them or the ship.

Boatmen are responsible for the support provided to the docking and undocking of ships as they arrive, depart or when they maneuver (changing docking position) within ports.

In order to become a boatman one must have a lot of experience. They are therefore much experienced sailors who graduated from the merchant navy.

In France, boatmen fulfill a public service mission and teams are available 24/7.

They are part of port safety (ships and infrastructures), fight against the pollution of basins and provide various services to ships such as the supply of or addition to crews, maneuvering chiefs, plugging of tanker vessels for loading and unloading of ships, the transport of equipment and staff on docked ships, the supply of nautical equipment for expertise, underwater works, etc.


Jacques, an active member of SCOP de Lamanage du havre et d’Antifer since 1990 declares: (He progressed in this cooperative and is now general manager) “This profession allows me to experience with my associates the daily work of docks and the very special atmosphere you find in a port while becoming aware of its environmental impact. We also train young boatmen then take part in the setting up of the qualification standard of our sailors. I regularly meet the marine industry stakeholders and take part, with boatage teams, to the life and growth of our port. I am a player of the transition between a port settled on its mid 20th Century image and an infrastructure and environment of the 21st Century. “

Source: multiple Internet sources, specialized literature, testimonials (Pratic-Export, Pôle-emploi cards, Wikipedia, Onisep, CNRTL, Umep à la Page…)