Offshore roustabouts are the workhorses of the offshore oil industry, and if you are looking for a new job or career, then you may have found the perfect match - the need for roustabouts offshore is high and going higher. The work is hard, the hours long. But the pay and benefits are good, and you'll be creating your very own economic recovery. Rather than just hoping things turn around (it will be a while), take charge! There has never been a better time to start a career in the oil industry, and once you are working offshore, a lot of options are going to present themselves to you.
Roustabouts are entry level positions, to be sure. But a great many companies prefer to promote from within, and offer training and education for those who want to advance into positions of great responsibility - and reward. You'll find a lot of people in very senior positions offshore who got their start as a roustabout, worked hard, put in their time, and climbed the ladder to a very successful and lucrative career.
A typical offshore rig has many roustabouts; it is, in fact, the leading entry level job offshore to be found in the rig's marine section as well as the drilling section. Almost all new hires in both sections will come on as roustabouts, even if they would be qualified for a higher position on land. The reason for this is that things are done differently offshore, and the way to really learn the ropes is to start at the bottom, master the procedures used offshore, and prove yourself. Once they see you are likely to stick around, the opportunities to advance will come fast and often.
Roustabouts offshore will usually be placed in a position where they are working directly as a helper or assistant for someone in a more senior position. In many cases, this will mean working with the roughnecks on the drilling crew, or with the riggers and crane operators on the marine crew. Roustabouts could also find themselves working with the painters and welders, taking more of a maintenance role.
Roustabouts will help with a wide variety of tasks on one of these rigs, including maintenance, cleaning the decks, removing rust from the beams, erecting scaffolding, loading cargo, attaching loads to the cranes, assisting the welders and mechanics, or providing lunch breaks to the roughnecks when times are slow.
On the drilling crews, roustabouts will be learning drilling operations, working closely with the roughnecks for a good deal before getting to handle the hydraulic clamps and winches for manipulating the pipes used to drill with. This gives you the advantage of really learning the job before you actually start doing it, and allows you to ease into what is a very challenging and often dangerous job. In this type of scenario, you really do benefit from having those who know more looking out for you and giving you the wealth of their experience as you master new skills and learn a new trade.
Since there are such a wide variety of jobs a roustabout could end up doing offshore, there are many career paths you can choose from. Usually though, most will choose to advance up the drilling ladder or the marine ladder, becoming drillers or crane operators respectively. From there, many move into management - and you can too.