There are very few major skills one needs to acquire before trying to become a dock worker. Given the fact that you could be working with a great deal of property, some of which is very expensive, being trustworthy may be the most important aspect. Having basic math and communication skills is also helpful if you want to become a dock worker. Many in the occupation may not even have a high school diploma, but experience working with various industrial equipment may be an advantage.
To determine the character of an individual, the company doing the hiring may depend heavily on references. Many companies ask for both personal references and professional references in order to become a dock worker. Therefore, it may be necessary to have at least one job prior to becoming a dock worker. It may also help if you have someone who can speak to your character who is already employed by the company where you are seeking employment.
The main job of a dock worker is to load and unload containers, trailers and other types of storage units that may hold a variety of freight. Therefore, making sure you are in good health is critical if you want to become a dock worker. The work is very physically demanding, and often requires standing for long periods of time, and may also require bending, stooping, and heavy lifting.
A dock worker, also known as a longshoreman, loads and unloads cargo from ships onto trucks or railroad cars and verifies its contents. He may use specialized heavy equipment to move the materials or do it by hand with the assistance of other dock workers. A dock worker may work as an independent contractor or be employed by a stevedoring, which unloads ships, or a shipping company.
As the shipments arrive in port, a dock worker is normally required to inspect the cargo and containers before he unloads them. He generally has a packing list for each shipment on which he notes opened containers, damaged goods or other discrepancies. A significant number of dock workers carry computerized handheld devices into which they enter this information. Knowledge of local and regional transportation rules is often required to properly complete the shipping and receiving paperwork.
If the dock worker is loading a shipment for transport, he is normally required to be knowledgeable of packing procedures. These methods generally include properly stacking goods to prevent shifting during transport. He may also be required to sort the merchandise per the shippers’ instructions. Cables and ropes are normally used to secure the packages and containers.