Shellfish Dredge Operator

Drive and operate mechanical or hydraulic dredges.

What does a Shellfish Dredge Operator do?

Drives and operates mechanical or hydraulic dredge to cultivate, transplant, and harvest marine life, such as oysters, clams, and sea grass: Steers dredge to designated area, using navigational aids, such as compass and landmarks, and knowledge of tides, or is towed by other vessel. Fastens water pressure hoses, lifting and towing cables, and dredge baskets to dredge, using handtools. Primes pumps and adjusts angle of water jets and conveyor, to prepare for dredging. Activates dredge engine and lowers dredge baskets or hydraulic dredger to sea bottom, using hoisting boom and winch. Activates hydraulic dredge impeller pumps and conveyor and drags hydraulic dredger or dredge baskets along sea bottom to scoop or flush shellfish from beds. Inspects contents dumped from dredges onto deck to determine depth of cut into sea bottom, and adjusts water pressure or angle of basket blade to attain depth of cut desired. Observes flow of shellfish on conveyor and stops conveyor to prevent or clear jamming. Observes and listens to operation of equipment to detect malfunction and makes adjustments and minor repairs to correct operational defects. Attaches cutting blades or harrows to dredge and lowers to specified distance above or on sea bottom and steers dredge in diminishing circles to cultivate shellfish beds or cut sea grass. May record date, harvest area, and yield in logbook. May direct helpers in sorting of clams. May be designated according to type of dredge operated as Hydraulic Dredge Operator; Self-Propelled Dredge Operator; or kind of shellfish harvested as Clam Dredge Operator; Oyster Dredge Operator.