• Voyageurs NP Winter Black Bay Frozen Beaver Pond


    National Park Minnesota

Deckhand Volunteer

Voyageur Tour Boat

Voyaguer Tour Boat

Voyageur Tour Boat Deckhand

This position is located at Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota. The volunteer will assist the captain with operation of the park’s 49-passenger vessel, the Voyageur. This vessel is USCS approved tour boat. The volunteer will prepare the boat for tours, secure lines during docking and undocking, and be trained on boat safety procedures. Most tours depart from the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. Volunteers working in this capacity will receive appropriate training, guidance, and supervision from the District Interpreter.


As a uniformed volunteer with the National Park Service, the volunteer serves as one of two deckhands aboard the park’s 49-passenger vessel, the Voyageur, a USCS approved tour boat vessel. The volunteer deckhand will follow instructions from the boat captain and assist the boat captain with boat operations, docking procedures, and safety needs. Deckhands will be prepared for on-time departures for all trips. Deckhands will arrive on the boat 20 minutes prior to a scheduled trip to aid the captain in moving the boat to the passenger loading dock. They will assist the captain in checking safety items. They may need to spot clean and tidy up the boat prior to passengers boarding.

Deckhands will be permitted to perform other duties such as food service or interpretive programs provided that they can readily respond to their regularly assigned deckhand duties and responsibilities. During docking and undocking procedures, the first priority of the deckhand is to assist the captain. In an emergency or with a “major incident” onboard the boat, the first priority is to assist the captain in correcting the situation.

Deckhands must be fully trained and competent in:

  • Line handling and securing the boat to the dock (efficiently and quickly)
  • Docking and undocking procedures
  • Safe passenger loading and unloading
  • Passenger crowd control
  • Assisting the captain when maneuvering the boat (backing the boat from the dock)
  • Standing watch and looking for other boats or obstacles when backing the vessel
  • Use of onboard radio communications with the captain
  • Assisting in the proper stowage of gear and equipment

Deckhands will be friendly, courteous, and helpful with visitors and other boat crewmembers. Deckhands will provide visitors with correct park information and direct visitors to the visitor center for additional information when questions are asked and the answer is unknown. Deckhands will call the District Interpreter at least three hours prior to a scheduled departure if he or she is unable to work that day due to illness so a substitute can be found.


To perform the duties of this position, the volunteer must have the following knowledge, skills and abilities:

  • Being comfortable aboard the park’s 49 passenger vessel, the Voyageur.
  • Knowledge of deckhand responsibilities
  • Ability to communicate information in a courteous, tactful, and intelligent manner
  • Knowledge of NPS mission and goals.
  • Knowledge of the park and operations.

Supervisory Controls

The volunteer works under the direct supervision of the District Interpreter. After receiving specific instructions, the volunteer performs routine assignments independently. The supervisor is available when problems or unusual situations arise. Supervisor spot checks routine work for accuracy, with closer review performed for more difficult or non-routine assignments.


The volunteer contacts visitors, disseminates information, and is frequently required to perform multiple tasks during high volume visitation while aboard the Voyageur. The volunteer responds to all requests made by the boat captain. Assignments are primarily repetitive, consisting of clearly defined tasks. Questions regarding non-routine tasks are referred to the supervisor.

Scope and Effect

The results of the incumbent's activities contribute to the understanding and appreciation of the park and the natural and cultural resources within. The results of the incumbent's activities contribute to visitor enjoyment and understanding of the park area and the public’s appreciation of the National Park Service mission. These activities affect the NPS and its employees, visitors, land managers, and neighbors.

Personal Contacts

The volunteer has daily contacts with the visiting public, other volunteers, park staff, inholders and park neighbors. These people represent a cross section of the nation and of other countries of the world. Visitors are of all ages, and from all social, ethnic, and economic groups. The volunteer has contact with park visitors for the purpose of providing information about area facilities, services, activities and recreational opportunities. Public contacts occasionally include dealing with visitor complaints and conflicts, although these are typically referred to the supervisor. The volunteer must wear a park volunteer uniform.

Physical Demands & Work Environment

This position requires standing for long periods of time, handling lines, walking on uneven and slippery surfaces, bending, lifting of moderately heavy items, and the use of ladders. Work is generally performed outdoors aboard the Voyageur. The volunteer may be subject to working in adverse conditions while outdoors including weather (rain or sun) and insects.

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