On any oil rig, there are hordes of supplies that have to be carried on and off the rig. It could be materials like casting pipes or other equipment, essential for the smooth running of the operation. It could also be the groceries and food items required to sustain the crew for this extended period. These items are usually reached to the rig via supply boats and cranes are used to transport them from the boats to the rig. A crane operator is therefore an essential and vital component of any rig crew.
A crane operator is responsible for effectively maneuvering the crane so that heavy equipment can be moved across tight spaces. As part of his function, he might also be expected to keep the crane machinery in good working order, which could include oiling, painting, lubricating and cleaning. He has a fair degree of responsibility over other members of the crew. His role will include instructing the roustabouts on various tasks and in all likelihood will have an assistant crane operator working with him to help him with his responsibilities.
To get a job as a crane operator, it will be useful to get some experience operating a crane. This could be on a rig, in which case you would start off as a roustabout and then work towards becoming an assistant crane operator where you will build most of your experience. Alternatively you can also gain crane-operating experience onshore at regular construction or related sites. However it will definitely be more challenging to get a rig crane operator job without prior rig experience.
A good crane operator is cool under pressure, has a sound knowledge of the equipment he managers, is physically strong and healthy and is a team worker. He should be able to lead, motivate and manage his team and have a close eye for detail. He may be expected to undergo additional training to improve his knowledge about the role. Typical salary for an assistant crane operator would be in the range of $28000 to $65000 per year. Crane operators will make anything upwards of $65000 per year.
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