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To read more about becoming a mariner or mariner opportunities.
Information Concerning Employment and Training in the U.S. Merchant Marine

Many fascinating careers are available in the maritime industry which offers:

  • Extensive travel and adventure
  • Responsibility
  • Excellent pay and benefits

Maritime careers typically belong to one of the following shipboard departments:

  • Deck- navigation, cargo handling, and management
  • Engineering- propulsion, maintenance and management
  • Steward/hotel- food services, sanitation, and accommodations

Some vessels will also have a “Supply Department” which is typically a combination of the stewards department and those crewmembers who perform storekeeping duties. Additionally some vessels carry communications and/or medical personnel.

Almost anyone can find a job in the maritime industry by:

  • Contacting a maritime company or union
  • Contacting a maritime crewing agency
  • Attending a maritime technical training school
  • Attending a maritime academy or college to become a licensed officer

The U.S. merchant marine consists of privately-owned, U.S. registered merchant ships and a variety of towing, offshore supply, and passenger vessels which provide waterborne transportation for passengers and cargoes moving in domestic and international commerce. Employment on these vessels is the responsibility of the owners and is handled by maritime labor organizations or through direct employment by the company.

Part-time or summer employment is available in some sectors of the maritime industry such as the passenger vessel industry. The level of seafaring employment is determined by the state of U.S. and world business conditions, and improvements in ship technology.

Federal Voting Assistance Program

Members of the Military and their spouses and eligible family members living outside their legal voting jurisdiction, whether changing States or moving to another country, can vote by absentee ballot in all Federal elections under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act here.

Reemployment Rights for U.S. Merchant Mariners

Merchant Mariners who voluntarily leave their existing employment to accept employment aboard vessels which support the sealift needs of the United States are entitled to reemployment rights. View additional information on reemployment rights here.

Military to Mariners

Military veterans, especially certain rates in the Navy and Coast Guard and the 88 series of Army MOS’, often have experience and training which fulfill all or part of that necessary for a skilled rating or license. Please visit our Military to Mariners page for more information.

Mariner Medals

The U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration authorizes merchant marine medals and awards to mariners in recognition of their service in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm. Mariners who served during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom are also being recognized. More information on mariner medals, is available here.

New:  In keeping with its tradition of honoring the men and women of the U.S. Merchant Marine, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) has authorized award of the Merchant Marine Expeditionary Medal (MMEM) for service aboard U.S. flag vessels in support of Operations Restore Hope and United Shield and related operations in Somalia from 5 December 1992 to 31 March 1995.

For instructions on applying are here.

Veterans Benefits

If you served as a Merchant Mariner during World War II (eligible dates are December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946, you may qualify for limited veteran’s benefits. For more information on whether you qualify for veterans benefits visit the World War II Merchant Mariner – Veterans Qualification Process page on the National Maritime Center web site.

Mariner Outreach System (MOS)

The ability to contact mariners is critical to the Maritime Administration’s mission to ensure qualified mariners are available to meet our nation’s needs during times of peace, war, and national emergencies. MOS allows mariners who agree to participate, an opportunity to review their qualifications/sea service and provide updated and more detailed contact information.

Maritime Academy Cadets and Graduates

Graduates of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and those graduates of State Maritime Academies who have received Student Incentive Payments (SIP) are required to report compliance with their obligation to the Maritime Service Compliance System (MSCS). The MSCS helps Midshipmen and Cadets in the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and State Maritime Academies Graduates of the Student Incentive Payment program complete the required compliance reports online on an annual basis for the period of their service obligation after graduation.

Shipbuilding and Repair Jobs

Looking for a career in the Shipbuilding and Repair Industry? Please visit the Goships web site.