Rod Dickson went to sea at the age of sixteen on oil tankers trading from the Persian Gulf to anywhere in the world.  He has served on oil tankers, tugs, whale chasers, turtle hunting boats, prawn trawlers, cargo ships, deep sea cable layers, rig tenders, roll-on, roll-off cargo vessels, a Royal Navy 26,000 ton ammunition ship and lastly a 115,000 ton liquid natural gas carrier trading to Japan.

Since 1980 he has have been involved with the Fremantle Maritime Museum as a researcher and writer of Western Australia's maritime history and has been honoured with an Honorary Associate award.

He has written numerous papers on maritime history and his first book They Kept This State Afloat was published in 1998.  It is the story of the State's boat and ship builders from 1829 to 1929.  The book is recognised as being a "very important historical resource", and is of importance to genealogists.