Riggers may work in a variety of situations. Some still work on sailboats and yachts. They can also be found assisting the owners of small boats by offering advise on how to handle the rigging. Although this process is very simple on a one mast sailboat, larger vessels become more complicated.
Thus, these riggers need to know how to explain the difference between a yardarm and a spar to people who may not know the difference between their mast, deck or bow.
Riggers also work in search and rescue, creating and testing the harnesses used to lift injured persons from difficult situations. This complicated work is generally done by hand. Another specialty is parachute rigging, which is the packing and maintaining of parachutes. These services are used by the military and civilian skydivers. This is a difficult job, which also has to be done by hand. Riggers need to have an understanding of knots, cordage and the tension a rope.
Riggers working on docks and construction sites, however, are more likely to handle industrial machinery and equipment. They often move heavy loads of supplies, albeit over short distances. However, they still require the knowledge of how to make a hoist support a heavy object. In general, they move bulk supplies and extremely heavy objects. Although heavy equipment does the actual lifting, riggers need to check cargo nets for weak points and test knots.
However, there remains a place in the modern world for riggers in the marine and construction hauling industries. This can be a lucrative career, but can also be very physically demanding.